The Thirsty Beagle has reported several times over the past few months — based on reports culled from around the Web – that smaller craft brewers have been feeling the pinch in the nation’s difficult economic times. Turns out, that’s not true at all. According to several reports, craft brewers came out of 2008 not only unscathed, but with substantial gains. The country’s independent craft breweries reported a jump in dollar sales in 2008 of 10.5 percent, or up to $6.34 billion. They also reported in increase in volume of beer sold of 5.8 percent. The reason? Consumers want stronger-tasting beer. The Thirsty Beagle likes to say people just want beer that tastes good.