Popularity of Craft Beers Soars

Some analysts are predicting that craft beer’s share of the beer market could jump from 5 percent in 2010 to 20 percent by 2020.

CHICAGO – Craft beer continues to grow in popularity, with double-digit growth across the board, the Chicago Tribune reports. Even the big brewers are taking notice, as with the recent transaction of Anheuser-Busch buying Goose Island craft brewery for $38.8 million.

In Chicago, craft beer is just coming into its own, with Half Acre, Two Brothers and Three Floyds struggling to keep up with demand. “We just can’t make enough beer,” said Gabriel Magliaro of Half Acre Beer Co. “Our goal every week is just to try not to run out of beer.”

Craft beers started in the 1980s, growing from a mere handful of breweries to more than 1,750 last year. In 2010, craft beer took 5 percent of beer sales nationwide, with some analysts forecasting that it could account for 20 percent by 2020.

“Craft beer is kind of a rising tide right now,” said Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer’s Insights. “It’s really in the sweet spot of where more consumers are going, and that seems to be toward the sort of innovation, flavor and variety that the craft brewers are epitomizing.”

Last year, craft beers sold close to 10 million barrel, an 11 percent yearly jump. Total U.S. beer sales dropped 1 percent to 203.5 million barrels in 2010, according to the Brewers Association. Most craft beers are sold at a higher price than regular beer, which strengthens revenue for the subcategory.