The ‘real’ craft beer

[could the New Zealand craft beer industry be starting to show signs of this?]

Call it The Little Engine That Could. Or The Mouse That Roared. It’s the American craft beer industry, which keeps chugging along each year at a healthier clip than bigger players. Look at the numbers. While mainstream beer has been stagnant for several years, the craft beer segment has been growing steadily — by 7.2 percent in 2004, 9 percent in 2005 and — just announced — 11.7 percent last year.

Granted, the craft beer category is growing on a very small base (under 5 percent of all beer consumed in this country) while the big guys are losing a small amount on a very big base (everything else we drink except imports). But growth like this has the whole industry paying attention.

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