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BOULDER, Colo. -- This year is proving to be a good one for the small and independent craft brewers. According to the Brewers Association's latest numbers, dollar sales were up 14 percent in the first half of 2012, while volume of craft beer sold jumped 12 percent during that same time period.
For the first six months of 2012, craft brewers sold an estimated six million barrels. The positive numbers come at a time when the beer industry as a whole faces decreasing beer sales. The industry currently provides an estimated 104,000 full-time and part-time jobs, the association explained.
"Generally, most craft brewers are continuing to see strong growth in production, sales, brewing capacity and employment, which is to be celebrated during challenged times for many of today's small businesses," said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. "Plus it's a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies. India pale ales, seasonal beers, Belgian-inspired ales and a range of specialty beers are just a few of the beer styles that are growing rapidly."
There are 2,126 breweries in the United States -- an increase of 350 breweries since June 2011. The association also tracks breweries in planning as an indicator of potential new entrants into the craft category, and lists 1,252 breweries in planning today compared to 725 a year ago. Additionally, the count of craft brewers was at 2,075 as of June 30, 2012 showing that 97 percent of U.S. brewers are craft brewers.
"Beer-passionate Americans are opening breweries at a rate faster than at any time since the day Prohibition ended for the beverage of moderation," Gatza added. "There is nearly a new brewery opening for every day of the year, benefiting beer lovers and communities in every area across the country."