The Brewers Association just released the numbers for the first half of 2008 and worried brewers everywhere can breath a quiet sigh of relief. There has been the worry that as prices have risen, sales would be slowed as a result. But for the first half of 2008, craft beer surged ahead 11% in dollars over a year ago. According to The Nielsen Company, beer sales are affected the least by the economic downturn, with wine sales showing the most impact. Additionally, craft beer is gaining customers from across all segments of beverage alcohol.
The Brewers Association reports that in the first half of 2008 volume of beer sold by craft brewers grew by 6.5% totaling an estimated 4 million barrels of beer compared to 3.768 million barrels sold in the first half of 2007. Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business Daily stated, “Crafts have really taken pricing this year given high input costs, and yet it is still driving volume gains faster than the beer category.”