In still another story about gloomy beer sales that focuses on the largest brewers BusinessWeek provides this eye-opening number:
“One segment of the beer industry that has resisted the recession is craft breweries, increasingly popular for flavorful beers made in smaller batches. According to data from the Nielsen Co., craft or microbrew sales rose 12.4% in 2009.”
Nielsen also reports that craft beers now account for 5.8 percent of the overall beer market.
Granted, Nielsen and the Brewers Association define “craft beer” in different ways (the BA is more exclusive) but a gain of more than 12 percent for 2009 would be stunning. The Wall Street Journal has reported Boston Beer production was up 1.6 percent in 2009, and we know traditionally total craft sales seldom differ much from Samuel Adams (in no small part because Sam Adams accounts for more than one bottle sold out of every five). In 2008 the category was up 6 percent, Boston Beer 6 percent. In 2007, Boston Beer 14 percent and “craft” 12 percent. You get the idea.
Additionally, at mid-year the Brewers Association reported “craft” gains of 5 percent for the first six months. It would take one heck of a second half to hit 12 percent.