I’ve been crowing about the rise of craft beer in the Southeast forever, it seems. But it’s time to crow some more.
New numbers from the Brewers Association confirm that craft beer sales were up again and strong throughout the region last year. In the same report, Atlanta’s Sweetwater reached another major milestone, coming in at No. 24 among the top 50 craft brewing companies in the U.S., based on 2011 beer sales volume.
But some of the biggest news to hit recently wasn’t so much about facts and figures as it was the strong beer culture that’s taken root since small breweries like Sweetwater and Asheville’s Highland pioneered making beer around here in the ’90s.
In late January, the No. 2 craft beer company in the country, California’s Sierra Nevada, announced it soon would be breaking ground on a new 90-acre brewing complex with a restaurant and music venue, located 12 miles south of Asheville, along the French Broad River.