BeerDorks.com: Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

 
April 15, 2010

Beer Issues:

The 50 Biggest Breweries In America

Because everyone likes a good list.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
The Brewers Association just came out with their list of the top 50 breweries in America, based on beer sales volume. We’re presenting the list here for your reading convenience, along with some witty remarks about each, free of charge. If you’d like the uncommented version (i.e. the boring version), along with a list of just the craft breweries, you can check out their site.

Rank Brewing Company City State
1. Anheuser-Busch InBev
Never heard of ’em.
St. Louis MO
2. MillerCoors Brewing Co.
I still think Coiller would have been a much better name.
Chicago IL
3. Pabst Brewing Co.
The largest brewing company in the world that does not actually own a frickin’ brewery.
Woodridge IL
4. D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc.
Take THAT Canada!
Pottsville PA
5. Boston Beer Co.
The largest craft brewery in America, according to the Brewers Association.
Boston MA
6. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
The brewery that made Cascade hops famous.
Chico CA
7. New Belgium Brewing Co.
Makers of Fat Tire, the most viewed Beer Dorks review.
Fort Collins CO
8. Craft Brewers Alliance, Inc.
Also known as Don’t Tell Anyone We’re Semi-Owned By Anheuser-Busch.
Portland OR
9. Spoetzl Brewery (part of Gambrinus)
What’s brewed in Texas should stay in Texas.
Shiner TX
10. High Falls Brewing Co.
In case you didn’t know (I had to look it up), they make the Dundee and Genesee brands.
Rochester NY
11. Minhas Craft Brewery
Complete, absolute shit.
Monroe WI
12. Pyramid Breweries (part of IBU)
They make a pretty good hefe.
Seattle WA
13. Deschutes Brewery
A great big craft brewery making a range of great beers. Northwest Beer Dork Ade Solomon claims their Mirror Pond pale really moves him.
Bend OR
14. F.X. Matt Brewing Co.
Recovered from last year’s scary fire.
Utica NY
15. Magic Hat Brewing Co. (part of IBU)
Their big seller is #9, a pale ale with a hint of apricot. Original, I’ll give ’em that.
Burlington VT
16. Boulevard Brewing Co.
One of those breweries that I sorely wish was in the Midwest.
Kansas City MO
17. Harpoon Brewery
Ha! No one cares.
Boston MA
18. Alaskan Brewing Co.
Might be the best brewery in America. Damn, they make great stuff.
Juneau AK
19. Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
The Midwest’s biggest craft brewery. The list of their great beers goes on and on.
Galesburg MI
20. Goose Island Beer Co.
I had a dream the other night that Goose Island abruptly closed up shop and I was scrambling to buy up the last of the Bourbon County Stout.
Chicago IL
21. Kona Brewing Co.
I was in a Kona Brewing Co. bar in San Fran a few years ago and the cute, young bartender didn’t know they brewed their own beer.
Kailua-Kona HI
22. Full Sail Brewing Co.
Employee-owned!
Hood River OR
23. Stone Brewing Co.
What daring! What outrageousness! What insolence! What arrogance! I salute you.
Escondido CA
24. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
120 Minute IPA is a harsh mistress.
Milton DE
25. Iron City Brewing Co.
One of the reasons why TP sales are still strong in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh PA
26. August Schell Brewing Co.
Grainbelt, mon amour. If only I had the five bucks to buy a case of it …
New Ulm MN
27. The Brooklyn Brewery
Good to see Garrett Oliver’s little side project is coming along nicely.
Brooklyn NY
28. Abita Brewing Co., L.L.C.
Some drinkable beer brewed in the bayou.
Abita Springs LA
29. Summit Brewing Co.
Putting out some great new stuff lately.
Saint Paul MN
30. Anchor Brewing Co.
Craft brewing’s angry old man is still cranking out the goods.
San Francisco CA
31. Shipyard Brewing Co.
I’ve never had a drop of this brewery’s beer.
Portland ME
32. New Glarus Brewing Co.
The 32nd largest brewery in America and they only distribute in Wisconsin.
New Glarus WI
33. Great Lakes Brewing Co.
So many solid brews. And I’m still haunted by their Nosferatu.
Cleveland OH
34. Rogue Ales/Oregon Brewing Co.
It’s a Rogue Nation, and we are its citizens.
Newport OR
35. Long Trail Brewing Co.
Why is it that the only place I’ve had their stuff is at a brew fest in … Oregon?
Burlington VT
36. The Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Please, no more California breweries.
Petaluma CA
37. Mendocino Brewing Co.
See number 36.
Ukiah CA
38. Gordon Biersch Brewing Co.
I’ve never, ever been in a Gordon Birsch establishment.
San Jose CA
39. SweetWater Brewing Co.
Been to Atlanta once. Once. I had some SweetWater, but for the life of me I can’t remember which one. I do remember it being pretty damn good, though.
Atlanta GA
40. Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
I always thought these guys were really small. They crank out some interesting stuff.
Paso Robles CA
41. Victory Brewing Co.
See number 16.
Downingtown PA
42. Flying Dog Brewing Co.
Recently moved from Colorado to Maryland. See number 44 for an explanation why.
Frederick MD
43. BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery
Must be one big restaurant.
Huntington Beach CA
44. Odell Brewing Co.
Please, no more Colorado breweries.
Fort Collins CO
45. Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurants
Does this actually count?
Louisville CO
46. Straub Brewery
OK, now they’re just making names up.
Saint Marys PA
47. BridgePort Brewing Co. (part of Gambrinus)
One of Portland’s tamer breweries. But their IPA is an old standby.
Portland OR
48. Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe
I’ve been to Eureka, California, and the Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe. An accomplishment in itself.
Eureka CA
49. Big Sky Brewing Co.
Moose Drool is one of the best beer names ever. Now it’s canned, too.
Missoula MT
50. Stevens Point Brewery Co.
I swear I have never uttered the phrase “Give me a case of Point Special and a glazed donut.”
Stevens Point WI






Comments
I can't believe High Falls is 10th!!11! I lived in Rochester and always thought their beer was just a local favorite. Nothing special, nothing to see here. I haven't seen or heard of them since.
posted by Jug | April 15, 2010, 9:34 PM
It's interesting the "rankings" give the impression of size for some of these breweries. As Jim Koch points out in his recent Sam Adams commercials, Sam Adams is 0.9% of the U.S. Beer Market...the bottom 40 of this list combined don't total even that much.
Great list and commentary...although, I've been somewhat impressed by the recent efforts of some of the old-school regionals when honestly tasting them again...they're not just brewing cheap crap anymore, in some cases....except for Straub. I've had that...it's crap...and I'm not makin' it up.
posted by rings | April 15, 2010, 11:30 PM
Yeah, still only 5 percent of the U.S. beer market is craft. (The list doesn't include imports like Heineken and Corona, which dwarf Boston Beer Co.) It's kind of depressing to think that when you're in a bar where everyone's drinking craft beer, there are 19 other bars out there full of people mindlessly drinking Bud Light, (gleep!) Natty Ice, and the like or "high mindedly" drinking Amstel Light or something with a damn lime wedge in it to help choke it down. But on the other hand it's kind of encouraging, because the potential for growth of craft beer is still almost limitless.
posted by EddieGlick | April 16, 2010, 8:39 AM
Seems you need to expand your definition of the Midwest. I'm proud to say that I've enjoyed and even visited a good number of these on the list. Even if they total 5%, take comfort in the number available ... and growing. Cheers!
posted by Ade Solomon | April 20, 2010, 1:34 AM
No doubt, Abe...its wonderful that we have so much more to choose from than we did only a few short years ago...my comment was only saying that a "top 50" list gives the impression that the bottom 40-45 are "large," when they're not even a day's worth of spill at an AB or Miller brewing facility. They're all still "little guys" who need our support!
posted by rings | April 20, 2010, 4:25 PM