New Belgium’s April-imminent Shift Pale Lager signals a couple of firsts: It’s the No. 3 craft brewery’s first 16 oz. can offering. It seems a big bet on the industry’s interest in novel session beers. And it is, to our knowledge, the first year-round brand launch they’ve put $1 million behind. We asked brewery spokesperson Bryan Simpson to break down the media investment, and how they expect it to pay off…

How is craft doing at the Irish pubs? We looked up Fado marketing chief John Piccirillo to ask how it’s trending at his 15-year-old pub chain started in Atlanta, now with locations from Seattle to Philadelphia…

Yesterday Bump Williams shared the new upscale beer segmentation and craft segmentation model he’s using to help his retailer customers prune the ever-growing crop of SKUs…

It’s a classic case of too much of a good thing. Sure, craft is up across all channels: As we reported last week from full-year SymphonyIRI numbers, craft achieved double-digit dollar change growth in 2011 for the sixth year in a row, up 15% in supers, 17% in drug, 21% in c-stores and 25% in census-tracked liquor stores…

We promised you top new packages and brands in supers last week, per SymphonyIRI’s Dan Wandel and his full-year 2011 Power Hour presentation…

Back to 2011 full year trends: You can probably roughly guess the top 15 craft brands based on dollars in total U.S. supers. More interesting are those in that list who also had the biggest jump in actual dollar sales last year. That would include Sierra Torpedo, which gained half a dollar share of craft; Sam Adams Variety Pack, which gained 0.1; New Belgium Ranger IPA, up 0.3 dollar share of craft; Kona Long Board Lager, which gained 0.2; and Shiner Bock, which despite being up almost $2 million in actual dollar sales change lost…

Craft was the biggest 2011 gainer of dollar shares in food, its most developed channel: Up 1.3 share points, it generated $118 mill more dollars. Super premium, led primarily on the strength of Blue Moon and Shock Top, also gained almost half a share point. Overall, the craft segment has doubled its share in this channel since 2005: At 5.4 share total dollars of beer sales to 10.8 at end of 2011.

Draft beer occasions are growing – from 42% in Q4 ’09 to 47% in Q2 ’11.

Crispin’s Joe Heron had the chance to characterize the growing American cider category after the much-festooned MillerCoors acquisition a few weeks ago…

The category is learning from craft. At last week’s Beer Summit, leaders from Heineken USA and A-B talked about what they’ve taken away from their smaller counterparts’ operations…

Less than 4% of drinkers only drink beer. That’s down almost a point from a year ago, per Andy Thomas’ presentation at the Beer Summit on “Striking a Chord with Consumers.” Notice he didn’t reference “beer drinkers” in the title. For as we relayed yesterday, only 8% of beer drinkers are exclusive to beer. Andy’s sobering message for those lamenting wine and spirits’ grab: Stop complaining that the other team is beating you. What’s really at work is …

The big news for Boston’s Q4: Depletions were up only 4% for the last quarter and 7% for the full year. “I think it’s fair to say … we have struggled to maintain our share of tap handles and share of new shelf space just being the number one player and having a strong position from which to compete from,” said Martin Roper, who also admitted Twisted Tea was growing faster than beer.

“We have a whole lot of women drinking IPA in Oregon that didn’t like bitter things in the past,” said Jamie. “Things are so amazing in Oregon that you can go into a store and see a bunch of sorority girls drinking a Belgian beer. This is a sour Belgian beer. And they’re not with their boyfriends, and they’re doing what they want. … I think it’s hard to pull off that kind of marketing. You have to be yourself.”

Harry was more bullish on craft growth than your editor has ever heard before. “Craft will be 15 share in 10 years … that may even be conservative. It’s gaining a half to full share point in each year,” he says, and that could accelerate. For, contrary to popular belief, “it’s easier to gain market share the bigger you are.”

“If some brewers or wholesalers believe that the current structure does not create a barrier at 60,000 barrels then why, after almost 30 years of craft brewing are there only 43 brewers over 60,000 barrels?” asks Dan Kopman. He went on to point out that that the industry is partly shaped by the tax structure: When the tax on brewers went from $9 to $18 in the 1990s, A-B and MillerCoors were forced to not only to raise prices but also get more efficient by expanding breweries.