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Costco highlights craft brewers


ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Craft brewers are the star of the show in the latest issue of Costco Wholesale's member magazine.

For the cover story of the September issue of Costco Connection, the club retailer solicited stories from members who had turned brewing as a hobby into businesses, or dreamed of doing so, receiving more than 500 responses.

Breweries profiled include Two Brothers Brewing Co. of Warrenville, Ill.; Copper Kettle Brewing Co, of Denver; Mac & Jack's Brewery of Redmond, Wash.; and Maui Brewing Co. of Lahaina, Hawaii.

The four profiles provide a snapshot of an industry that has grown rapidly in recent years, as home brewers turn their hobbies into businesses and Americans' tastes broaden beyond mass-produced, light lagers. According to a recent report by IBISWorld, the number of craft brewers has grown by 10.9% per year since 2008, with 2,439 businesses showing 2013 sales of $3.9 billion and profits of $378 million, and expectations of more than 7% annual growth in the number of enterprises through 2018. American craft beers also have grown in popularity abroad, with $46.9 million in exports in 2013.

The Boston Beer Co., which makes Sam Adams, commands a 19.3% market share, while the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., based in California, commands 5.1%. Pale ales make up the bulk of craft brews, about 41%, while lagers make up 27.9%, coffee-colored stouts and porters constitute 13%, and seasonal beers constitute 18.1%.

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