The obsession with artisanal food is reaching drink, too. Craft brewers are enjoying boom times, with retail sales up by 11 percent in the first half of 2008, while import beer sales are down for the first time last year since 1991. "There's a general consumer trend of people more interested in buying locally," says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association.
Sales at Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery grew over 40 percent just last year and the forecast is strong for 2009 January revenues are up 45 percent, according to Adam Lambert, vice president of sales.
Gatza predicts that craft breweries will grow anywhere between 4 to 6 percent in the next year. "Beer is recession resistant," he says.