Craft beer (aka microbrew) is back and booming. Since the industry's rise and fall in the mid 1990s, a number of serious, artisanal breweries debuted–Dogfish Head
, Green Flash
, to name a few of my favorites–and now they're leading a sudsy renaissance.
Bars specializing in local, hard-to-find, and offbeat beers are opening across the country (Beer Table in Brooklyn, Novare Res in Portland, Maine, Village Idiot in LA). A smart, well-chosen beer list is now de rigueur at the best restaurants. Self-described wine snobs are forgoing their beloved varietals for beers with just as much flavor, terroir, and nuance. Even Daniel Boulud, NY's famous four-star French-born chef, is opening a beer-centric spot. Mon Dieu!
Thanks to a report just released by the Brewers Association, there are numbers to reinforce craft beer's resurgence. According to the report, craft brewing grew by 5.8% in 2008, non-craft domestic grew only 0.6%, and imports were down 3.4%
Other interesting craft beer stats in the report:
–The Top 5 Craft Brewing Companies (by beer sales volume)
1. Boston Beer Co.
2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3. New Belgium Brewing Co.
4. Spoetzl Brewery
5. Pyramid Breweries Inc.
Where well does your favorite local brew rate? Check here.
—Vermont has the most breweries per capita followed by Montana, Oregon, Maine and Colorado.
–There were 54 regional craft breweries, 448 microbrews, and 981 brewpubs (1,483 in total) U.S. craft breweries operating in 2008.
—Every state has at least one brewery. California leads the way with 221 followed by Colorado (103) and Washington (100). Mississippi has one.
–The total U.S. craft brewing industry annual dollar volume is $6.3 billion. The 20 large breweries (Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Pabst, etc) account for $94.7 billion in annual dollar volume.