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Craft Beer Industry Brews Success in 2010

bottle_line1 Crabtree.jpg
Crabtree Brewing
Bottle line at Crabtree Brewing in Greeley

As the state legislature considers changing the rules on where full-strength beer can be sold in Colorado, new data shows the craft brewing industry is thriving in the state and nationally.

The Brewer’s Association, a national industry organization based in Boulder, says last year small and independent craft brewers saw their sales volume jump 11%, representing an increase of over 31 million gallons from the year before.  Retail dollar sales of craft beer grew by 12%. 

“It’s not about the Industrial Revolution when you’re talking to craft brewers. It’s about blood, sweat and tears, and what ends up in the glass,” says Julia Herz, the Craft Beer Program Director at the Brewer’s Association, adding that more people in Colorado are choosing small, independent and local when they eat and drink.

The concept of independent brewers resonates with people.  That’s one reason Herz says the small business model is flourishing, decades after the rise of large, global brewing companies, and in spite of the economic downturn.

Overall, craft brewers make up roughly 90% of the more than 1,700 breweries in the U.S., though they represent only 5% of sales by volume. Colorado is consistently among the top five states for craft brewers, with more than 100 currently operating.

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.