With the Tupelo Craft Beer Festival headed to the All-America City Saturday, here’s this interesting nugget from the Associated Press: Craft beer continued its growth last year, rising to 7.8 percent of total U.S. beer volume, up from 6.5 percent in 2012.
The Brewers Association, a Colorado-based industry trade group, said craft brewers’ volume rose 18 percent to 15.6 million barrels last year. The figures are preliminary, and a list of the largest 50 craft brewers will be released at the end of the month. In 2009, craft beer accounted for only a 4.4 percent share of beer volume.
Craft beer sales totaled an estimated $14.3 billion, representing 14.3 percent of the U.S. beer market, up from $11.9 billion in 2012, the group said.
“With this stellar year, craft has now averaged 10.9 percent growth over the last decade,” Bart Watson, a Brewers Association staff economist, said in a statement.
Breweries across the country have been opening new facilities, including 413 new brewery openings in 2013. Forty-four breweries closed.
There were 2,822 operating breweries in the U.S. at the end of the year, and 2,768 were considered “craft” breweries, according to the Brewers Association, which defines craft brewers as small, independent and traditional, with production no more than 6 million barrels annually.