The Brewer's Association just released mid-year numbers, and the results are encouraging for the over 1500 small brewers in the country. Dollar sales of the craft beer segment were up 9%, and volume was up 5%. All this in a difficult economy and with the big three - oops, sorry, it's the big two now - suffering declining market share. I think it is a testament to how beer drinker's tastes are changing.
But one graph they included in their press release really caught my eye. It is a graph of the number of breweries operating in the U.S. over the past 100 years. In the early 1900's, before prohibition, there were over 1500 breweries operating. Most of these were small regional breweries - in fact, there were no national breweries, and most of the beer people drank came from their local breweries.
Now, after close to 100 years, and the great experiments of Prohibition, and even worse, Light Beer, the U.S. is host to over 1500 breweries once again.