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In 2010, craft beers represented 4.97 percent sales by volume. Retail sales totaled $7.6 billion.
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In terms of sales, craft beer now has a 9.1 percent share of the $95.5 billion dollar U.S. beer market.
The gains came at a time when the total amount of beer consumed by Americans actually shrank, said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association.
“While the overall beer market experienced a 1.32 percent volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing 5 percent total market volume share for the first time,” Gatza said in the release. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the variety of styles and flavors to choose from, Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers.”
At the end of 2011, 1,989 breweries were operating in the U.S., with 250 opening and 37 closing, the release said. Small brewers employed approximately 103,585 workers in the U.S. in 2011.