Exports of US craft beer increased by 3.6% in 2017 to reach a total of 482,309 barrels and $125.4m according to data from the Brewers Association.

The exports markets that saw the most growth in 2017 were Asia Pacific and Western Europe. Exports to Asia Pacific, with Japan excluded, grew by 7.4% in 2017, which is less than the 12.9% growth recorded in 2016. Exports to Western Europe grew by 1.3%, compared with 0.4% in 2016.

Japan experienced an increase in exports of 2.6% in 2017, which is significantly lower than 22.6% increase recorded in 2016.

Canada remained the biggest export market for US craft beer accounting for 51.3% of total exports. The UK was the second largest market, receiving 10.5% of exports.

The Brewers Association export development program manager Steve Parr said: “From innovative styles to international distribution, American craft beer is breaking boundaries.

“Through the Brewers Association export development program, we’re able to take the success of local brewers and showcase them on a global scale.”

In further analysis of the figures, the Brewers Association’s chief economist Bart Watson concluded that the largest level of growth in 2017 came from smaller breweries.

Watson said: “The vast majority of growth came from microbreweries and brewpubs, with microbreweries accounting for nearly 60% of the craft category’s total growth.”

Brewpubs accounted for 16% of total growth and their numbers increased by 15% in 2017.

Per brewery growth for 2017 was estimated by Watson to be approximately 200 barrels.

US craft beer export growth peaked in 2014 at 35.7%. The sector has continued to grow since but at a slower rate. Export growth declined to 16% in 2015 and 4.4% by 2016.

The Brewers Association is a not-for-profit trade association that aims to promote and protect American craft brewers and their beers.