10:03am

Tue August 7, 2012
Craft Beer

Raise A Glass To Colorado's Favorite Business: Craft Beer Sales Are Up

Back in May, NPR's Bill Chappell wrote "It's a good time to brew beer in America." While most Coloradans can agree that anytime is a good time for a craft beer, business can be a little more finicky.

As it turns out though, 3 months later it still remains a good time for beer makers in America.

According to data released by Boulder's Brewers Association, numbers are up and business is good. The highlights include higher sales figures and a new 125 year high for the total brewery count.

As Director Paul Gatza told our colleagues at Colorado Public Radio, "It’s really representing a shift in the American beer drinker as they move more and more to full flavored beers from small and independent breweries."

How much of a shift? According to the Brewer's Association the volume of craft beer sold jumped 12 percent in the first half of 2012. During that same stretch, actual dollar sales grew just a bit more, up 14 percent.

It's great news for craft brewers, especially local favorites New Belgium and Oskar Blues. Both local breweries announced expansions earlier in the year. North Carolina is the destination for both, New Belgium in Asheville and Oskar Blues in Brevard.

Craft beer business is so good in fact that politicians have taken notice. Last month Mark Udall toured the Avery Brewing Company and heaped praise both on the business side and the beer side of the equation. As Kirk Siegler reported:

“Drinking beer in moderation has enormous health benefits and when you combine that with the economic growth that occurs in our state it’s a winner across the board,” Udall said.

Traditional brewing hasn't fared as well though; the Denver Business Journal is reporting that local brewing giant Molson Coors' profits are down 53 percent in the second quarter. The brewer attributed that to acquisition costs. Similar though to the craft brewers they saw sales increases thanks to beer drinkers in the United States.

It seems that we're a thirsty lot.

The Brewer's Association says that the U.S. has 2,126 breweries now. There is also an additional 1,252 breweries in planning stages. Where does that put us?

Credit Brewers Association

Ahead of pre-Prohibition levels, so beer drinkers should have plenty of options compared to the United States of 1887. President Grover Cleveland never got to heft a Fat Tire or Sam Adams. He didn't even get to know the real Samuel Adams who passed away in 1803. Cleveland was born in 1837.

That's a good bit of bar trivia for you next time you enjoy a small sip of this American business success story.