Back in 2008 we reported that craft brewers - also known as microbrewers - had captured almost 6% of U.S. beer sales, up from effectively 0% a decade or so earlier.
We revisited the industry in 2010 and found craft brewers 2009 revenue share of the U.S. beer market had grown to about 7%.
Since 1% of the U.S beer market is worth about $1 billion (Americans drink a lot of beer), this was strong growth - especially given the country was in the midst of the Great Recession.
Since 2009 the craft beer industry has continued to advance, with 2013 being a banner year. As the chart below from the Craft Brewers Association shows, craft beer sales increased 17.2% in 2013 despite an overall beer sales decline of 1.9%.
Craft brewing is now a $14.4 billion industry (a 14% revenue share) and is showing no signs of slowing down. It's a great example of niche firms effectively competing with giant corporations.
The beer industry also continues to be an excellent example of the increasingly common barbell industry structure.
This industry structure consists of a relatively few giant corporations on one end, a narrow middle consisting of a shrinking number of mid-sized firms, and a large and growing number of small, micro and one person (solopreneur) firms on the other end.
See our Industry Structure section for more examples.