National craft beer sales rose 12% by dollars and 11% by volume in 2010, even as overall U.S. beer sales fell, according to the Brewers Association.

Sales jumped from $7 billion in 2009 to $7.6 billion in 2010 for craft breweries, the national industry association said. The number of barrels sold by the industry rose from 8.9 million in 2009 to nearly 10 million in 2010.

The 2010 jump in sales revenue continued a run of success that included growth of 10.3% in 2009 and 10.1% in 2008 for the industry that claims roughly 120 members in Colorado.

“Beer lovers increased their appreciation for American craft brewers and their beers in 2010,” said Paul Gatza, Brewers Association director, in a news release. “Craft brewers’ stories resonate with Americans who are choosing small, independent companies.”

Craft breweries are defined as those that produce less than 6 million barrels of beer annually, do at least 50% of their business in all-malt beers, and are less than 25% owned by an alcohol industry member that is not a craft brewery.

Overall U.S. beer industry sales were down roughly 1%, falling from 205.7 million barrels sold in 2009 to 203.6 million barrels sold in 2010, the Brewers Association said. Sales of imports, which had dropped 9.8% from 2008 to 2009, rose by 5% in 2010.

Craft beers represented 7.6% of the U.S. beer industry in terms of retail sales by dollars in 2010 and 4.9% in terms of sales by volume, the Brewers Association reported. Those numbers were up from 6.9% of sales by dollars and 4.3% of sales by volume that they made up in 2009.

The number of breweries in America grew roughly 8% last year, from 1,630 in 2009 to 1,759 in 2010, according to Brewers Association figures. A total of 97.6% of those breweries are defined as craft breweries.

2010 U.S. craft brewing data.  Brewers Association. 21 Mar. 2011.  Web.  24 Mar. 2011.