Small (breweries) the new big

Craft beer sales surge 11% in first half of 2006

Aug 21, 2006 - The Brewers Association reports the volume of craft beer sold in the first half of 2006 rose 11% compared to the same period in 2005.


"The rate of growth in the craft beer segment appears to be accelerating," said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association professional division. "This is the third straight year we've seen an increase in the craft beer growth rate."

The current surge in growth comes on top of strong performances over the last two years. In 2004, the volume of craft beer sold increased by 7% and in 2005 it rose by 9%.

"This growth represents strong performance by established craft brewers over several years," said Ray Daniels, director of Craft Beer Marketing for the Brewers Association.

"The current trend in craft beer sales increases demonstrates a growing consumer preference for the diverse and flavorful beers made by craft brewers," said Gatza.

Craft beer sales in grocery, convenience, drug and liquor stores for the first half of 2006 as tracked by Information Resources Inc. (IRI) show volume growth of 12-13% and dollar sales up 15-16%, according Dan Wandel, vice president of Beverage Alcohol Client Solutions for IRI.

"I expect the trends were seeing for craft beer will continue and that this will be a very good year for the segment," said Wandel during a recent Brewers Association teleconference.

IRI numbers also indicated growing sales for all high end alcoholic beverages. Sales of imported beers, for instance, grew 12%. Sales of spirits were up 5% in the first half of the year, led by tequila (12% increase). Wine sales grew 8%, with high end table wines increasing even more.

Published : Aug 21, 2006