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10 Fastest-Growing Craft Breweries In the U.S.

PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Just 30 years ago, there were 80 breweries in the United States -- the fewest since prohibition. Today there are more than 2,500 and the numbers keep growing.

According to the Brewers Association craft beer industry group, breweries have opened at a pace of roughly 1.15 a day over the past year. The number of breweries in the U.S. now exceeds the previous record of 2,011 set back in 1887 and has leapt by nearly 1,000 breweries since 2009.

While overall beer industry sales grew 1% last year, sales by brewers that the Brewers Association defines as craft -- or 2,483 breweries out of a total of 2,538 -- jumped 15% by volume and 17% in dollars during the same span. Through July, craft beer sales are up 15.2% in volume and 17.5% in dollars, while overall beer sales are down 1.1%.

With the Washington, D.C.-based Beer Institute industry lobbying group noting that slow economic recovery has taken its toll on large brewer sales and dragged down overall beer sales, there is still a question of just how long craft beer's growth can be sustained. There's been a lot of speculation, but continually changing beer and distribution laws and a lack of leveling in craft beer sales numbers have made that unclear.

The only thing that is apparent, however, is that there's still plenty of space in the current beer market for astronomical growth by even the smallest brewers. With help from the Brewers Association, we took a look at sales numbers from the past year and came up with the 10 small breweries that have grown the fastest. A combination of local support and outsized reputation are making these breweries big players even in cities where they're overshadowed by larger operations. If one of these isn't in your area, don't worry -- there's likely a brewery in your area making similar plans for sizable expansion: