By James Atkinson

The United States now has in excess of 2000 craft breweries that are successfully challenging the perception that American beer is confined to mass-produced lager, according to Brewers Association chief operating officer, Bob Pease.

Pease, who picked up several awards on behalf of U.S. brewers at last week's AIBA in Melbourne (pictured), told TheShout that the footprint of American craft beer in Australia is currently very small.

"There's about 15 craft breweries exporting in some degree to the Australian market," he said.

"[But] it's a pretty mature and pretty well-educated market for beer compared to some of the other countries we're active in," he said.

"We find here a well-educated consumer base, a well-educated retail base and a great openness to American craft beer."

Pease, who revealed that aluminium cans are making a comeback in the U.S., said he hopes to grow Australia as a market for the 65 of his members that are part of the Brewers Association's export program, but he is not here to "shove U.S. beers down Australians' throats".

"We see our efforts going hand-in-hand with the emergence of a craft brewing scene in Australia," he said.

"The perception that American beer is just industrial light lager made by the large brewing companies, that's really changing."

The association showcased beers from as far afield as Hawaii, California, Oregon and Utah at a trade lunch at The Courthouse in North Melbourne last week.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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