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Times are tough all around, right? Almost. Sure, you’ve watched your salary stagnate and your 401K disappear. The banks are bust, war is everywhere, and, heck, add a global pandemic to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for real, lasting despair. If that makes you want to crack a beer, you’re in luck. The beer industry is doing alright and, true to the populist spirit of the age, it’s craft beer that’s growing the most.

From the Downers Grove Reporter:

The Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association defines craft brewers as those with annual production of less than two million barrels, that have less than 25 percent ownership by a non-craft alcohol beverage company, and that avoid the use of adjunct ingredients to lighten flavor.

The industry has enjoyed steady growth over the last five years, as craft beer’s share of the $100 billion U.S. beer market rose from 2.7 percent in 2003 to 4 percent in 2008. The Brewers Association estimated craft beer sales last year at $6.3 billion in 2008, up from $5.7 billion the previous year…

Craft beer sales appear to be holding up during the recession, boosted by customers’ strong demographics…

For the 52 weeks that ended on March 9, craft beer sales rose 12.6 percent from the previous 52-week period, compared with 3 percent for all beer, according to data from market researchers the Nielsen Company.

So fear not. As bad as things might still get, it doesn’t appear you’ll be caught without some hoppy relief… so long as you can pay for it, that is.

Photo used under a Creative Commons license from dullhunk.