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Beer Sales, Driven By Craft Beer Strength, Finally Start To Rebound In 2012

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After years of depressing declines in sales, the beer industry could really use some good news. And today, just in time for Oktoberfest and football season, the Beer Institute provided some. The research group reports that beer sales by volume increased year-over-year for the first eight months of 2012, the first such bump in three years. This calls for a keg stand!

About 141.4 million barrels of beer were sold in the first eight months of 2012, 1.9 percent more than were sold in the first eight months of 2011. That's the equivalent of about 4.4 billion gallons, which could fill nearly 7000 Olympic swimming pools.

The strongest sector in 2012 so far has been -- surprise, surprise! -- craft beers, echoing trends seen throughout the industry for the past several years. Sales of craft beer were up 12 percent, to six million barrels.

But bigger beer brands also started to turn around in tandem with slightly better job prospects for its core consumers, men between the ages of 25 and 34. So it's no surprise that the stock prices for beer giants Anheuser-Busch, Heineken and Molson Coors were all up a bit on Wednesday.

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