Although the increase from last year was not as large as past increases, it occurred while the economy was spiraling downward and craft beer prices were increasing. An indication that consumers are continuing to choose quality over quantity. Hopefully that trend will continue despite the rather dismal economic outlook for this year. Fortunately, most hops have had a significant drop in price recently, which will lower costs and help smaller breweries ride out any downturn in the craft beer market.
More information and additional statistics for 2008 are available at the Brewers Association website.