Raising a glass to the rise and rise of craft breweries here
Ireland ranks 20th globally in terms of the number of craft beer breweries it has, according to a new study.
According to the Global Craft Beer Survey, Ireland has 67 craft beer breweries.
The study was carried out by US animal nutrition giant Alltech, which was founded by Irish native Pearse Lyons.
It assessed the number of craft breweries through information obtained in partnership with local beverage associations and Alltech's sales team, which operates in 128 countries.
It found that that there are more than 10,000 craft breweries worldwide. Of those, 86pc are in North America and Europe.
The US has more breweries than any other country in the world, with 4,000 overall. This represents a near 20pc growth in the last year and far exceeds any other individual country's count by thousands.
The country with the second highest number of craft breweries was the UK which had 723.
France, Italy, Russia, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Brazil and Japan rounded out the top ten. Despite its small size Switzerland ranked favourably. It had 48 breweries per million of population, more than any other country. Ireland has almost 14 breweries per million of population.
Despite the huge potential market the craft beer industry has yet to take off in the two most populous countries in the world, India and China. Neither has more than 60 craft breweries.
Alltech chief innovation officer Aidan Connolly said: "The rise of craft beer as a beverage of choice is indicative of consumers' demand for differentiated, interesting and quality products.
"In the last number of years consumers have developed more discerning tastes resulting in a switch from the big beer brands to those with a distinctive taste and a story to tell.
"This change in consumer sentiment and demand has obviously driven the big beer brands, like AB InBev and SABMiller, to join ranks."
Small craft brewers are winning more customers internationally and are cutting into the market share of their larger rivals. AB InBev, the Budweiser maker which is in the middle of merger talks with rival firm SABMiller, saw its net profit fall 32pc to $1.9bn (€1.76bn) in the three months to the end of June. Meanwhile, its revenues declined 9pc to $11.1bn (€10.3bn).
Overall, the survey puts the craft beer industry's net worth at $50bn (€46.4bn).
Mr Connolly said: "Craft beer has 2pc of the market share in Ireland today, and it is predicted to rise, with a year-over-year growth of approximately 25pc, and new local breweries mushrooming all over the country."
Ireland has microbreweries in 21 of the 26 counties in the Republic. The number of breweries here has increased by about 400pc since 2011.
Irish craft beer is currently exported to 25 countries, with approximately 38pc of Irish breweries in the business of exportation.
Industry experts say there are a number of factors behind the explosion in interest in craft beers, with post-recession consumers looking for better value from the products for which they are forking out.
Alltech's findings come before their Craft Brews and Food Fair which is taking place in Dublin next February. The fair will host more than 60 Irish and international breweries and distilleries.