Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Craft Beer Sales up 11 percent in 2006

By William Brand
Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 at 3:12 pm in Uncategorized.

I don’t usually run press releases, but I wanted get this up right away. It shows that craft beer sales continued to boom in 2006.

Here’s the media release:
The continuing growth of craft beer entered double digit territory in 2006, with sales by craft brewers up 11.7% by volume for the year. This comes on top of strong growth in each of the prior three years and illustrates the ongoing surge of consumer interest in craft beers.

The Brewers Association estimates 2006 sales by craft brewers at over 6,600,000 barrels (one barrel equals 31 U.S. gallons) up from an adjusted total of just under 6,000,000 barrels in 2005. The increase totals over 690,000 barrels or 9.5 million case-equivalents. For 2006 craft beer posted a retail sales figure of $4.2 billion.

A strong area of distribution for craft beer is grocery, convenience, drug and liquors stores. According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), “The beer category reaped growth from import (+10.9%) and micro-brew (+16.9%) products, while suffering losses across domestic and non-alcoholic varieties, , the Brewers Association said.

One note of caution: Imports far exceed craft beer sales. The Beer Institute, the Washington-based trade organization, estimatesimports hit 25.9 million barrels in 2006, up about 11 percent for an estimated 13.5 percent market share.

Also, Anheuser-Busch alone sold 102.3 million barrels of beer in 2006, according to A-B’s estimates. That was up 1.2 percent from 2005. Sales of Rolling Rock, Grolsch and Tiger added 0.5 percent of the 1.2 percent.

That gave A-B a 48.4 percent market share, down 0.3 of one percent from 2005.

More from the Brewers Association:

“American tastes are clearly changing thus the demand for more flavorful and diverse beers is exploding,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association, which tabulates industry growth data.

“Craft beer has become a great American success story and today U.S. craft brewers are being watched, emulated and celebrated globally.” stated Julia Herz, Director of Craft Beer Marketing for the Brewers Association. “Demand has become contagious. Craft beer is satisfying the thirst and beer enthusiasm of a continuously growing number of beer drinkers who are seeking flavor, diversity and value.”

Amen to that.

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