Craft Beer Now the Fastest Growing Segment of Beverage Alcohol Industry

HOUSTON, March 16, 2005 – The oldest microbrewery in Texas is reporting strong volume increases in 2004 as national production figures indicate craft beer is the fastest growing segment of the US beverage alcohol industry. Saint Arnold Brewing Company produced 9,120 31-gallon barrels of tasty beer last year, up 27 percent from 2003.

According to the Brewers Association, America’s craft brewers sold 7.0 percent more beer in 2004 than in 2003.

“The craft beer segment continues to show healthy and steady growth with many individual brewers enjoying double-digit volume increases,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “This year the craft segment sold more new barrels of beer than the much larger import segment of the beer market.”

According to US Department of Commerce figures, sales of imported beer in the U.S. increased by just 1.4 percent or 4.6 million cases in 2004. Even though craft beer accounts for just 3.2 percent of the beer marketplace versus more than 11 percent share for imports, craft beer sales in 2004 increased by 6.34 million cases – 1.78 million more new cases compared to imports. 

While Saint Arnold Brewing Company continues to post strong gains in and around the Houston area, it also is seeing strong demand in other important Texas markets, including Dallas/Fort Worth. Sales of Saint Arnold in the DFW area were up 46 percent in 2004 compared to 2003.

“An important part of what we do is to cultivate an appreciation of flavorful, quality beer throughout Texas,” said Saint Arnold founder Brock Wagner. “With all five Texas microbreweries reporting strong gains and two new micros opening for business, it is clear that Texans have really embraced the diverse and exciting choices we offer and made craft beers a regular part of their lifestyle.”

The Brewers Association estimates 2004 sales by craft brewers at 7 million barrels up from 6.5 million barrels in 2003. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, spirits volume increased at 3.1 percent for the year and according to Information Resources Inc., wine volume was up 2.7 percent. The import and mass-market segments of the beer industry rose approximately 1.4 percent and 0.5 percent respectively in 2004.

The craft beer segment includes more than 1,400 breweries that produce primarily all-malt beers. It includes brewpubs (brewery/restaurant), microbreweries (less than 15,000 barrels per year) and specialty brewers. The association has tabulated industry growth data for these breweries annually since 1985. 

About Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Saint Arnold Brewing’s ten brews are made and sold by the company''s staff of 14 dedicated employees. The brewery is located at 2522 Fairway Park Drive and its free brewery tour and tasting is offered every Saturday at 1:00 P.M. For more information on Saint Arnold''s five year-round and five seasonal beers as well as root beer, log on to

About the Brewers Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., U.S.A., the Brewers Association (BA) is a not-for-profit trade and educational association for small and craft brewers. The Brewers Association was established in 2005 by a merger of the Association of Brewers and the Brewers'' Association of America. Visit the website: to learn more. The Brewers Association has an additional membership division of more than 9,000 homebrewers: American Homebrewers Association. The association’s activities include events and publishing: World Beer Cup®; Great American Beer Festival®; NBWA/BREWERS Joint Legislative Conference, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America®; National Homebrewers Conference; National Homebrew Competition; American Beer Month (July); Zymurgy magazine; The New Brewer magazine; and books on beer and brewing.