Bailey Yancy (left) looks on as Justin Villarreal (right), both of Denton, Texas, picks up a beer sample at the bar while brewery tours are offered at the Four Corners Brewing Co. in Dallas Saturday September 27, 2014.

Bailey Yancy (left) looks on as Justin Villarreal (right), both of Denton, Texas, picks up a beer sample at the bar while brewery tours are offered at the Four Corners Brewing Co. in Dallas Saturday September 27, 2014.

Andy Jacobsohn/Staff Photographer

Brewers efforts to popularize craft beer read like a modern David versus Goliath battle. The little, independent guys have to convince consumers their product is worth the extra couple bucks. The giant companies, well, they're already in most people's fridges.

But tastes are turning -- albeit slowly -- in favor of craft beer, and the latest numbers from trade organization the Brewers Association suggest the industry may be poised for bigger growth spurts in the coming years. According to the association's annual growth report, craft beer market share hit double digits in 2014 for the first time ever, meaning more people are drinking craft than ever before. Craft beer accounted for 11 percent of all beer sales in the U.S. last year, up from 7.8 percent in 2013.

In fact, stats shot up across the board. Brewers produced a total 22.2 million barrels of beer last year, an 18 percent increase over 2013, says the report. Just five years ago, craft beer production accounted for 5 percent of the market (roughly 10 million barrels). If you want to talk dollars and cents, craft beer raked in $19.6 billion during 2014, up 22 percent from the previous year. That's nearly 20 percent of what Americans spent on beer in 2014.

"With the total beer market up only 0.5 percent in 2014, craft brewers are key in keeping the overall industry innovative and growing," said Bart Watson, the Brewers Association's chief economist, in a press statement. "This steady growth shows that craft brewing is part of a profound shift in American beer culture..."

The U.S. now boasts 3,464 breweries, an increase of 19 percent or a little more than 600 new operations compared to the previous year. The breakdown by state has yet to be published for 2014, so we don't know how Texas compares to other states. In 2013, Texas ranked eighth by number of craft establishments, at 96 breweries.

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