brands such as Pabst or Heineken had single-digit increases.
"They've seen their sales decline [nationally] as ours have increased," David Carlson, owner of Marshall Wharf Brewing in Belfast, said Tuesday.
According to Brewers Association, a national craft beer industry group, domestic sales of American-made craft beers increased from around 11.5 million barrels (or about 355 million gallons) in 2011 to about 13.2 million barrels (or 410 million gallons) in 2012. The association defines craft brewers as companies that make fewer than 6 million barrels (186 million gallons) each year, have less than a 25 percent ownership stake by any non-craft beer alcoholic beverage company, and that brew mostly traditional-style beers.
Revenue figures and other specific economic information about Maine breweries are not publicly available. According to state officials, governmental census and employment data likely classify some breweries that have their own pubs as restaurants, rather than as breweries, so public economic data attributed specifically to Maine's brewing industry are believed to be inaccurately low.
According to Beer Institute, another beer trade group, a 2012 industry survey indicates that beer brewing in Maine (not including retail or distribution) directly supports 390 jobs in the state and pays out more than $12 million in annual wages. When beer distribution and retail jobs are added to the picture, the beer industry directly supports 5,800 jobs and generates more than $160 million in wages in Maine each year, the survey indicates.
But how many of those people are staff employees at breweries or brewpubs in Maine is not clear. Shipyard alone -- which owns restaurants, brewpubs and other Maine beer brands -- employs hundreds of people, company officials have said. A significant number of restaurants in Maine do not operate year-round, however, which often causes beer production and staffing levels to fluctuate widely during each year as throngs of tourists come and go.
Still, on a year-to-year basis, the numbers have been going up. Shipyard continues to expand in and out of Maine. Baxter Brewing, which did not brew any beer prior to 2011, has indicated it plans for more growth through 2013.
Allagash also is physically expanding and hiring more employees this year. Germain, communications and marketing manager for the brewing company, said Allagash is almost finished with a project that will double its brewing and retail spaces, each by about 6,000 square feet, and expects to add 15 positions this year for a total staff of about 70 employees.
Germain said many craft brewers across the country are enjoying growth rates similar to the 36 percent production increase at Allagash.
Germain said Allagash's Belgian-style ales sell well in New England but also have followings in California and in the Chicago area. She gave partial credit to the local foods movement for raising the popularity of smaller brewers but she said the notion that a craft beer comes from a specific place, even if it is not local, often is a key selling point for many consumers.
For example, Whole Foods supermarkets in Maine or Texas don't just sell products made in those states, she said. What the supermarket chain specializes in, she said, is providing small-scale producers with a wide base of customers who have
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