American craft breweries have registered 86% increase in beer exports by volume and 97% growth by dollars in 2011, compared to the prior year, according to the recently-completed industry survey by the Brewers Association (BA).

American craft breweries shipped more than 110,000 barrels of beer in 2011.

Craft breweries in the US shipped the maximum amount of beer to Canada, registering a volume rise of 127%, backed by growing demand in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

The UK and Sweden came as the next biggest importers of American craft beer.

Both the counties imported around 13,065 barrels of beer from the US.

Regionally, Western Europe is the largest destination for American craft beers.

Shipments to the region increased by 52% in 2011 and now surpass 51,613 barrels.

Brewers Association chief operating officer Bob Pease said the growth in international sales is remarkable in light of the lingering global economic recession.

"Despite decreasing purchasing power, consumer demand for American craft beers has remained strong and importers have continued to expand their portfolios of American craft beer brands, even in emerging markets, like Brazil and India," Pease said.

Total American craft beer exports are up by approximately 500% since the BA Export Development Program was initiated in 2004 with funds from the US Department of Agriculture Market Access Program.

The small and independent breweries in the US employ around 100,000 full- and part-time employees.

Brewers Association, a not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, is a group of around 1,400 US breweries, 30,000 American Home brewers, and members of the allied trade, beer wholesalers, individuals, other associate members and the Brewers Association staff.