The craft beer market continues to show exceptional growth as more and more consumers turn towards brews which are more exciting and boast more flavor profiles than the mass-produced beers that for so long dominated the global market. The frustration that beer drinkers felt over the ‘cookie-cutter’ products that were churned out by international brewing giants has resulted in the spectacular growth of craft breweries – and is fueling continued innovation.

Here are ten interesting facts about the growing craft beer market.

1. Growth.

Today craft beer sales account for around 24% of the U.S. beer market – and craft brewers are now responsible for sales in the region of $114 billion. According to the Brewers Association in the U.S. in 2008, there were 1,574 breweries in the United States, today there are 7,346 – a testament to the growing popularity of craft beer.

2. Defining a Craft Brewer.

In order to be recognized as a craft brewery only 5,000 barrels of beer can be produced by the brewers. A quarter of that output must be consumed on-site. This is the reason consumers are seeing microbreweries that also double as restaurants or bars.

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3. Leading State.

Vermont leads the U.S. in the number of craft breweries per capita. It boasts 11.5 breweries per 100,000 people. This means that the breweries in the State could produce 151 pints for every adult that resides there.

4. Most Popular Type of Craft Beer.

Research has shown that American beer drinkers tend to favor India Pale Ale as their tipple of choice. This beer uses pale malts to balance the hops flavors (Cascade is the type of Hops most favored by American craft brewers).

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5. The Right Glass.

Most people who have stopped by the neighborhood watering hole would be used to receiving their beer in the so-called ‘Shakers Pint’. This 16-ounce glass has been called ‘the worst thing to happen to beer’. The heat from the hands warms the beer pat its ideal temperature and the lack of bowl means that the aromas of the beer cannot be fully appreciated – and that is half the component of good taste gone. A tulip-shaped glass is far more suitable.

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6. Definitely not pet-friendly.

More and more craft breweries are inviting patrons to bring along their furry friends to sit at their feet while they enjoy a pint on the patio. But beware, no matter how beseeching those doggy eyes are beer is very bad for canines. Hops is, in fact, poisonous to dogs.

7. Better for your Bones.

Craft beer is actually good for bone growth and strength. This is because of the high concentrations of ‘silicon’ in these beers.

8. Sweet Surprise.

Such is the growing popularity of craft beers that other food and beverage sectors have jumped on the beer delivery wagon. Jelly Belly, that well known American sweet manufacturer has recently introduced a ‘beer’ flavor which can be mixed with other flavors of beans to create your very own ‘craft cocktail’.

9. Gluten-Free Choice.

It might be news to some but there are a number of great ‘Gluten Free’ craft beers on the market. Many people equate malt with gluten, but any grain can be malted. For this reason, beers made using gluten-free grains such as sorghum, millet, rice, buckwheat and even quinoa are becoming more and more popular. Stone Brewing Company’s ‘Delicious IPA’ is a great choice (Lemondrop and El Dorado hops for a citrus zing), as is the Ipswich Ale Brewery ‘Celia Saison’ which has sorghum base. This beer sweet boasts caramel/malt flavor with the tiniest hint of orange.

10. Within Easy Reach.

Most American’s are within 10 miles of the closest craft brewery. There really is no excuse not to stop in and explore the many tastes.

For those who suffer from Cenosillicaphobia (the fear of an empty glass), the rise of the craft brewery is great news. Subtle flavors and new beer experiences are now easier to enjoy than ever before. Today craft brewers are experimenting with new methods of producing unique beers – innovation is the name of the game. For those who are tired of the same old beer experience, a trip to some of the great U.S. craft breweries is highly recommended.

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