Craft-beer production increased 5 percent nationwide in the first half of 2017 — a figure that represents another slowdown in the rate of growth even as the number of breweries popping up nationally boomed by nearly 20 percent over the past year.

The Brewers Association, the Boulder-based industry group for smaller and local brewers, reported the figures Tuesday just as pre-sales began for tickets to its biggest annual event, the Great American Beer Festival that is scheduled from Oct. 5-7 in Denver.

If the growth rate continues at the same pace for the second half of 2017, craft brewers will produce some 25.8 million barrels of beer this year, up from 24.6 million in 2016.

BA chief economist Bart Watson noted that growth rates will slow as the industry gets larger, characterizing the 5 percent increase as “a rate that still reflects progress but in a more mature market.”

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