Sales of higher priced craft beers continue to grow the United States as consumers focus on taste over cost.
USA-CRAFT BEER SALES - he Heartland Brewery in New York City only pours its own craft brews, up to 30 different varieties a year, which appeals to a growing segment of beer drinkers who demand more robust taste and different flavors - and they are willing to pay a premium for it.
JAMES CLEMENTS, CRAFT BEER LOVER SAYING:"The one I am drinking has a nice orangey taste to it."
JEFF ROSENTHAL, CRAFT BEER LOVER SAYING:
"It's a little more hoppy, it's certainly tasty."
Craft beers typically use more expensive ingredients than mass market beer makers and more of it - including malt - which has jumped 10% in price in the past year, and hops which has risen in recent years. But that's a cost Heartland owner Jon Bloostein doesn't want to pass on to his beer fans...who already pay $6.95 a pint.
JON BLOOSTEIN, FOUNDER & CEO, HEARTLAND BREWERY SAYING:
"Generally we eat the costs in our restaurants, when my cost of labor goes up I can't pass that on to the consumer either, I can only try to drive sales up so I can make up the difference."
Bloostein's beer sales have increased 3% annually in the past couple of years. Heartland is not alone.
The Brewers Association reports a 12% jump in retail sales of craft beers in 2010 as the total number of breweries reaches its highest level since before Prohibition.
Count Sixpoint among the new additions. Based in Brooklyn, New York this brewer expects triple digit growth in 2011.
Shane Welch, founder and brewmaster at Sixpoint.
SHANE WELCH, FOUNDER & BREWMASTER, SIXPOINT SAYING:
"People want to support and they want to consume products that are within their community because they know it keeps the money in the community."
Discovering local tastes is key and may help craft beer sales get a bigger gulp of the $101 billion U.S. beer market.
Jill Bennett, Reuters...Cheers