DUBUQUE (AP) — Iowa-made craft beers are continuing to surge in popularity even as general beer sales decline, according to a new report from state alcohol regulators.
The amount of such beer sold in Iowa increased 11 percent from fiscal year 2017 to 2018, to nearly 685,000 gallons. The new numbers were released last week by the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.
The market has seen strong growth for the second consecutive year. Iowa breweries enjoyed a 9.7 percent increase from fiscal year 2016 to 2017.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all that local craft is doing well,” said Jacob Simmons, a co-founder of Backpocket Brewing in Coralville.
The report notes the craft beer growth happened despite a 2 percent decrease in overall beer sold in the state from fiscal year 2017 to 2018. About 71 million gallons were sold in Iowa in the past fiscal year, which ended June 30.
Miller said customers still show a lot of enthusiasm for local craft beers.
“Every year, I think it’s going to peak, and every year, it seems to keep on going,” he said.
According to the report, total liquor sales totaled about $320 million in fiscal 2018 — up about 4.7 percent from the prior fiscal year and continuing a growth trend since at least fiscal 2013.
State data show that the most-sold liquor last year was Black Velvet Canadian whiskey, with nearly 142,000 cases sold in the state. It marked at least the seventh consecutive year that it had been the top seller. Fireball cinnamon whiskey was a close second, with more than 134,000 cases.