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The US craft beer market continued its meteoric rise in 2013. Craft brewers (defined as those producing fewer than six million barrels [702 million litres] annually) chalked up volume growth of 18 per cent and value growth of 20 per cent over 2012. The Brewers Association's Bart Thomson reckoned average craft growth at 10.9 per cent a year over the past decade - a rate that would see volumes double about every seven years.

According to the association, craft beer in 2013 accounted for 7.8 per cent of beer volume in the US and 14.3 per cent of the dollar share.

The country's 2768 craft brewers comprised 1237 brewpubs, 1412 microbreweries and 119 regional craft breweries.

As in the US market, Australia's craft beer sales continue to grow, largely accounting for increasing sales value as per-capita consumption declines.

Crabbie's Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer
★★★ (out of four)
500ml $7.99

The British down a couple of million cases a year of Crabbie's, a brewer that claims to have been shipping fresh ginger from the Far East for more than 200 years. At a modest four per cent alcohol, it provides refreshing drinking, with a pleasant tangy-to-hot ginger aftertaste, spoiled to my taste by too much sweetness.

 

James Squire Orchard Crush Perry
★★★
500ml $7

Everyone's piling onto the fashionable cider wagon, mostly of the apple variety, but increasingly with pear, too. James Squire perry, part of Japanese-owned Kirin's Australian portfolio, delivers delicate pear flavours (made from Australian Packhams) on a briskly acidic, sweetish palate. However, the acidity and sweetness carry the palate more than the pear does.

 

Chris Shanahan

★★★★★