We're all beer connoisseurs now.

That's the takeaway of a recent study of the beer market by research firm Technomic, which showed declining beer sales overall in the US, but higher sales for imported beer and craft beer made stateside.

The biggest losers in 2011 were large domestic beer brands, such as Budweiser and Miller. Sales of light domestic beer -- by far the biggest single category -- dipped 2.6 percent by volume, while domestic regular beer sales decreased 3.2 percent.

The weakness in domestics was partially offset by strength in several niche categories. Cider, an admittedly tiny segment, saw the biggest bump, with a 31.3 percent gain. Craft beers continued their years-long spree, with sales going up by 11.2 percent. Imports grew 2 percent.

Because big domestic producers still hold a lion's share of the total 6.3-billion-gallon American beer market, their dips led to a net decline of 1.3 percent, by volume, in US beer sales. Though beer remains the most-consumed alcoholic beverage in the country, by a longshot, wine and spirits sales have both been gaining in recent years.

On the other hand, it's entirely possible that the higher prices of craft and imported beers will offset lower domestic sales on a value basis. A report on the state of the beer industry back in February, for example, estimated that the US beer market had grown two percent in dollar value in 2011, to nearly $100 billion -- largely on the strength of good sales for great beer.

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  • 1. Bud Light

    Cases sold: 269,135,600 Average price per case: $20.26 Total sales: $5,452,052,000

  • 2. Budweiser

    Cases sold: 101,760,300 Average price per case: $20.21 Total sales: $2,056,722,000

  • 3. Coors Light

    Cases sold: 101,651,900 Average price per case: $19.85 Total sales: $2,017,366,000

  • Miller Lite

    Cases sold: 86,678,030 Average price per case: $19.80 Total sales: $1,716,281,000

  • Natural Light

    Cases sold: 72,036,540 Average price per case: $15.41 Total sales: $1,110,150,000

  • Busch Light

    Cases sold: 49,320,380 Average price per case: $14.96 Total sales: $737,926,300

  • Busch

    Cases sold: 43,696,500 Average price per case: $15.39 Total sales: $672,443,100

  • Michelob Ultra Light

    Cases sold: 43,696,500 Average price per case: $15.39 Total sales: $672,443,100

  • Miller High Life

    Cases sold: 32,215,610 Average price per case: $15.49 Total sales: $499,148,300

  • Keystone Light

    Cases sold: 32,654,530 Average price per case: $14.71 Total sales: $480,261,800

  • Natural Ice

    Cases sold: 24,161,730 Average price per case: $14.91 Total sales: $360,287,600

  • Bud Light Lime

    Cases sold: 11,354,010 Average price per case: $25.91 Total sales: $294,227,200

  • Ice House

    Cases sold: 14,545,810 Average price per case: $16.20 Total sales: $235,627,900

  • Pabst Blue Ribbon

    Cases sold: 14,690,570 Average price per case: $15.89 Total sales: $233,392,000

  • Bud Ice

    Cases sold: 13,535,730 Average price per case: $17.05 Total sales: $230,767,400

  • Yuengling Traditional Lager

    Cases sold: 10,036,280 Average price per case: $21.89 Total sales: $219,679,200

  • Bud Light Platinum Lager

    Cases sold: 7,285,657 Average price per case: $26.31 Total sales: $191,701,900

  • Steel Reserve High Gravity Lager

    Cases sold: 9,660,888 Average price per case: $18.29 Total sales: $176,728,700

  • Blue Moon Belgian White Ale

    Cases sold: 5,215,089 Average price per case: $31.01 Total sales: $161,708,100

  • Coors

    Cases sold: 7,635,134 Average price per case: $19.25 Total sales: $147,010,300