Top Brewers of 2011


Yesterday, the Brewers Association released their Top 50 Brewers lists for 2011. One for craft breweries and one for overall breweries. The full press release is listed at the end of this post.

You may be interested (as I was) about how “craft brewer” is defined. According to the Brewers Association, a craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Small is defined as less than 6 million barrels a year. The explanations for independent and traditional border on legalese. If you’re interested in the details, check out footnote 1.

After perusing the lists, here are my thoughts and observations about the Top 50 Craft Brewers List:

  • Four brewers from Oregon (Deschutes, Full Sail, Ninkasi, and Rogue) made the Top 50 Craft Brewers list.
  • BridgePort Brewing is part of The Gambrinus Co., from San Antonio, Texas, which is listed as the fourth largest craft brewer.
  • was surprised that Craft Brew Alliance (parent of Widmer Brothers, Redhook, and Kona) is not classified as a craft brewer. I expect they didn’t meet the definition’s “independent” clause based on their ownership structure. I’ll verify. They are the 9th largest overall brewer, however.
  • was pleasantly surprised to see Alaskan Brewing as the 14th largest craft brewer. This is a feat considering all of their beer is brewed in Alaska and shipped out by barge. I’m a big fan of their beer.
  • I was also surprised to see New Glarus Brewing in the 19th position. I’ve never tasted their beer, but have heard great things about their cherry ale. I believe they only distribute in Wisconsin.
  • I didn’t realize Bell’s Brewery (7th position) from Michigan and Boulevard Brewing (10th position) from Missouri were as large as they are. Good for them.

Anyway, the craft brewing industry is dynamic and I look forward to seeing how this list changes in 2012. For another take on this list, check out Beervana.

What do you think of the 2011 Top Brewers List?  Any surprises?


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Brewers Association Releases Top 50 Breweries in 2011

Boulder, CO -- April 17, 2012 - The Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade group that tabulates production statistics for U.S. breweries—today released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on 2011 beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 36 are small and independent craft brewing companies¹,².

“In the last 15 years, craft brewing has gone from one percent of the overall beer market to almost six percent in 2011,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “We attribute a large part of that growth to the many talented brewers who are providing beer lovers with more beer style and flavor choices than ever before.”

Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies
(Based on 2011 beer sales volume)
Rank
Brewing Co.
City
State
1
Boston Beer Co.
Boston
MA
2
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico
CA
3
New Belgium Brewing Co.
Fort Collins
CO
4
The Gambrinus Company
San Antonio
TX
5
Deschutes Brewery
Bend
OR
6
Matt Brewing Co.
Utica
NY
7
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Galesburg
MI
8
Harpoon Brewery
Boston
MA
9
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Petaluma
CA
10
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Kansas City
MO
11
Stone Brewing Company
Escondido
CA
12
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton
DE
13
Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn
NY
14
Alaskan Brewing & Bottling Co.
Juneau
AK
15
Long Trail Brewing Co.
Burlington
VT
16
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Portland
ME
17
Abita Brewing Co.
Abita Springs
LA
18
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Cleveland
OH
19
New Glarus Brewing Co.
New Glarus
WI
20
Full Sail Brewing Co.
Hood River
OR
21
Summit Brewing Co.
St. Paul
MN
22
Anchor Brewing Co.
San Francisco
CA
23
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Paso Robles
CA
24
Sweetwater Brewing Co.
Atlanta
GA
25
Rogue Ales Brewery
Newport
OR
26
Flying Dog Brewery
Frederick
MD
27
Victory Brewing Co.
Downingtown
PA
28
CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants
Chattanooga/Louisville
TN/CO
29
Oskar Blues Brewery
Longmont
CO
30
Odell Brewing Co.
Fort Collins
CO
31
Stevens Point Brewery Co.
Stevens Point
WI
32
Ninkasi Brewing Co.
Eugene
OR
33
BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery, Inc.
Huntington Beach
CA
34
Blue Point Brewing Co.
Patchogue
NY
35
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Cloverdale
CA
36
Lost Coast Brewery Cafe
Eureka
CA
37
Big Sky Brewing Co.
Missoula
MT
38
North Coast Brewing Co. Inc.
Fort Bragg
CA
39
Saint Louis Brewery, Inc./Schlafly Bottleworks
St. Louis
MO
40
Gordon Biersch Brewing Co.
San Jose
CA
41
Breckenridge Brewery
Denver
CO
42
Founders Brewing Co.
Grand Rapids
MI
43
Saint Arnold Brewing Co.
Houston
TX
44
Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
San Diego
CA
45
Real Ale Brewing Co.
Blanco
TX
46
Mac and Jack's Brewery Inc.
Redmond
WA
47
Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Portsmouth
NH
48
Utah Brewers Cooperative
Salt Lake City
UT
49
Left Hand Brewing Co.
Longmont
CO
t.50 
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Boonville
CA
t.50 
Four Peaks Brewing Co.
Tempe
AZ



Top 50 Overall Brewing Companies
(Based on 2011 beer sales volume)
Rank
Brewing Co.
City
State
1
Anheuser-Busch Inc. (a)
St. Louis
MO
2
MillerCoors (b)
Chicago
IL
3
Pabst Brewing Co. (c)
Woodbridge
IL
4
D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc.
Pottsville
PA
5
Boston Beer Co.
Boston
MA
6
North American Breweries (d)
Rochester
NY
7
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Chico
CA
8
New Belgium Brewing Co.
Fort Collins
CO
9
Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. (e)
Portland
OR
10
The Gambrinus Company (f)
San Antonio
TX
11
Deschutes Brewery
Bend
OR
12
Matt Brewing Co. (g)
Utica
NY
13
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Galesburg
MI
14
Minhas Craft Brewery (h)
Monroe
WI
15
Harpoon Brewery
Boston
MA
16
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Petaluma
CA
17
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Kansas City
MO
18
Stone Brewing Co.
Escondido
CA
19
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Milton
DE
20
Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn
NY
21
Alaskan Brewing and Bottling Co.
Juneau
AK
22
Long Trail Brewing Co.
Burlington
VT
23
August Schell Brewing Co. (i)
New Ulm
MN
24
Shipyard Brewing Co.
Portland
ME
25
Abita Brewing Co.
Abita Springs
LA
26
World Brews/Winery Exchange (j)
Novato
CA
27
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Cleveland
OH
28
New Glarus Brewing Co.
New Glarus
WI
29
Full Sail Brewing Co.
Hood River
OR
30
Pittsburgh Brewing Co.
Pittsburgh
PA
31
Summit Brewing Co.
St. Paul
MN
32
Anchor Brewing Co.
San Francisco
CA
33
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Paso Robles
CA
34
Cold Spring Brewing Co. (k)
Cold Spring
MN
35
Sweetwater Brewing Co.
Atlanta
GA
36
Rogue Ales Brewery
Newport
OR
37
Mendocino Brewing Co. (l)
Ukiah
CA
38
Flying Dog Brewery
Frederick
MD
39
Victory Brewing Co.
Downingtown
PA
40
CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants (m)
Chattanooga/Louisville
TN/CO
41
Oskar Blues Brewery & Tasty Weasel Tap Room
Longmont
CO
42
Odell Brewing Co.
Fort Collins
CO
43
Stevens Point Brewery Co. (n)
Stevens Point
WI
44
Ninkasi Brewing Co.
Eugene
OR
45
BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery
Huntington Beach
CA
46
Blue Point Brewing Co.
Patchogue
NY
47
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Cloverdale
CA
48
Goose Island Brewing Co. (o)
Chicago
IL
49
Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe
Eureka
CA
50
Narragansett Brewing Co.
Providence
RI


*Top 50 U.S. Overall Brewing Companies notes: (a) includes Bass, Beck's, Busch, Goose Island, Landshark, Michelob, Rolling Rock, Shock Top and Wild Blue brands. Does not include partially owned Coastal, Kona, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers brands; (b) includes A.C. Golden, Batch 19, Blue Moon, Colorado Native, Herman Joseph, Keystone, Killian's and Leinenkugel's brands; (c) includes Schlitz and 28 other brand families; (d) includes Dundee, Genesee, Labatt Lime, Magic Hat and Pyramid brands; (e) includes Kona, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers brands; (f) includes BridgePort, Shiner and Trumer brands; (g) includes Flying Bison brands; (h) includes Mountain Crest and 10 other brand families; (i) includes Grain Belt brand; (j) private label brands; (k) includes Gluek and 17 other brand families; (l) includes Butte Creek, Kingfisher and Olde Saratoga brands; (m) includes A1A, Big River, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants, Rock Bottom Restaurants, Ragtime and Seven Bridges brewpubs; (n) includes James Page and Whole Hog brands; (o) sold to Anheuser-Busch in 2011.

The Association's full 2011 industry analysis, which shows regional trends and sales by individual breweries, will be published in the May/June issue of The New Brewer, available May 22, 2012.

For additional statistics, see the craft brewing statistics and 2011 craft brewer sales numbers.

¹The definition of a craft brewer as stated by the Brewers Association: An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Small: Annual production of beer less than 6 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewer's brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.

²Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for the Top 50 rankings.

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