No news here: Craft beer sales strong

Here are some headlines from past years:

2001: Craft beer sales up 4.2%
2002: Craft beer sales top $3.3 billion
2003: Craft beer sales surge
2005: Craft beer sales soar
2006: Craft beer sales soar

Do you see a trend here? At some point this doesn’t look like news. Craft beer is not a novelty. (That doesn’t mean we should be complacent, or quit beating the drum to make the beers we like even more readily available.) That’s a good thing.

The Brewers Association, having already announced that craft beer volume sales were up 11.7% in 2006 yesterday issued a press release stating that scan data from Information Resources Inc. shows craft beer with a 17.8% increase in supermarket sales for 2006.

Those are dollar sales, not volume sales. Dollar sales now account for 6% in stores that IRI tracks, and predictions are that number will reach 7% this year. Next week at the Craft Brewers Conference in Austin the topic of one panel discussion is: “Funding and Developing Capital to Get to 10% Share.” Just a few years ago the discussion was if craft beer could get to 10%.

And with craft brewers headed to Texas, this news arrived today: First quarter sales for Houston-based Saint Arnold Brewing were up approximately 35% from a year ago.

“The Texas beer market used to consider craft beers a novelty, but in recent years beer drinkers throughout the state have been trying and adopting more flavorful beers,” said brewery founder Brock Wagner. “We are gratified in seeing how many Texans are embracing both the local and craft aspects of our brews.”