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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  • #20 - Great Lakes Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Cleveland, Ohio <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 120,000 -- 31.9 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Dortmunder Gold

  • #19 - Long Trail Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Bridgewater Corners, Vt. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 120,000 -- 10.1 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Double Bag Ale

  • #18 - Abita Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Abita Springs, La. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 125,000 -- 14.7 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Abita Jockamo IPA

  • #17 - Shipyard Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Portland, Maine <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 129,000 -- 31.6 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Shipyard Export Ale

  • #16 - Alaskan Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Juneau, Alaska <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 130,000 -- 11.1 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Alaskan Amber

  • #15 - Brooklyn Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Brooklyn, N.Y. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 140,000 -- 29.6 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Brooklyn Lager

  • #14 - Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Milton, Del. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 144,000 -- 19 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> 60 Minute IPA

  • #13 - Stone Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Escondido, Calif. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 149,000 -- 29.6 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Stone IPA, Arrogant Bastard Ale

  • #12 - Boulevard Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Kansas City, Mo. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 157,000 -- 5.4 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Single-Wide IPA, Chocolate Ale

  • #11 - Lagunitas Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Petaluma, Calif. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 165,000 -- 55.7 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Lagunitas IPA

  • #10 - Harpoon Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Boston, Mass. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 173,000 -- 15.3 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Harpoon IPA, UFO Hefeweizen

  • #9 - Bell's Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Galesburg, Mich. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 180,000 -- 16.9 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Bell's Lager, Java Stout

  • #8 - Matt Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> Utica, N.Y. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 196,000 -- 7.7 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Saranac

  • #7 - Deschutes Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Bend, Ore. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 223,000 -- 9.9 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Red Chair NWPA, Mirror Pond Pale Ale

  • #6 - Magic Hat Brewing Company

    <strong>Location:</strong> South Burlington, Vt. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 336,000 -- 4.3 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> #9, Single Chair

  • #5 - Spoetzl Brewery

    <strong>Location:</strong> Shiner, Texas <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 487,000 -- 13 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Shiner Bock

  • #4 - Craft Brew Alliance

    <strong>Location:</strong> Portland, Ore. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 635,000 -- 8.5 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Widmer Brothers, Red Hook, Kona

  • #3 - New Belgium Brewing

    <strong>Location:</strong> Fort Collins, Colo. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 713,000 -- 7.9 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands: </strong> Fat Tire, Lips of Faith

  • #2 - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

    <strong>Location:</strong> Chico, Calif. <strong>Barrels Sold in 2011:</strong> 858,000 -- 9.2 percent increase since 2010 <strong>Popular Brands:</strong> Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Ovila Abbey Ales

  • #1 - The Boston Beer Company

    Location: Jamaica Plain, Mass. Barrels Sold in 2011: 2,440,000 -- 8 percent increase since 2010 Popular brands: Samuel Adams, Twisted Tea