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Last year, craft brewers sold 9.6 million gallons of beer, up from 8.9 million gallons in 2009, according to the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based trade group.

The association said the number of small, independent U.S. craft breweries has grown, from fewer than 100 to more than 1,700 since 1980 — a number not seen since 1900.

Inside the DC Brau brewery, hulking steel fermentation machines stand guard, and the rich aroma of hops fills the air.

Mr. Hancock and Mr. Skall hit a minor bump when they wanted to set up a tasting room at their brewery. Though the brewery is relatively empty, save for the brewing equipment, “there was a lot of red tape” and a law had to be written to allow a small tasting room on-site, Mr. Skall said.

D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., Ward 5 Democrat, helped draft the emergency legislation to get the permit for a tasting room.

“This creates another subculture of industry,” said Mr. Thomas, whose district is home to the brewery. “Why shouldn’t we have that opportunity?”

Mr. Hancock and Mr. Skall say they plan to expand to Virginia at some point and “pull people into craft beer.”