Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

April 23, 2012

Beer Diary:

The Biggest Breweries In America

The Brewers Association and their lists.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
The Brewers Association released their list of the 50 biggest breweries in America last week. We’ve reprinted it below, along with some pithy commentary, and their rank from when I last did this whole list thing, two years ago.

The list is based on beer sales volume from 2011. No explanation on what constitutes a “sale.” For instance, Minhas “Craft” Brewery (my quotes) is the 14th largest brewery, but most of their production is contract brewing for companies that own a beer brand but no brewing equipment. There’s no way they’re selling that much Minhas Light, no matter how fucking cheap it is. So does that mean they’re getting credited for a “sale” for every barrel of contract-brew they produce? And if they are, how does that work for Pabst, which doesn’t actually brew any of its beer? Obviously they are getting credited for the sale of beer that they had contract-brewed. I suppose we can wait for more info in the May issue of The New Brewer magazine and hope those questions get answered. Or we can just engage in wild conjecture, which is lots more fun and, not to mention, far easier.

Go ahead and check out the BA’s list of breweries, as well as a separate list broken out by what they call craft breweries.

Rank Brewing Company City, State
1. (1) Anheuser-Busch Inc.
The death throes over the next 20 years or so will take down more than a few legitimate craft brewers.
St. Louis, MO
2. (2) MillerCoors
About this time next year it’ll be ABInBevMillerCoors.
Chicago, IL
3. (3) Pabst Brewing Co.
They’re a brand without a brewery.
Woodbridge, IL
4. (4) D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc.
The oldest brewery in America and still kicking.
Pottsville, PA
5. (5) Boston Beer Co.
According to the BA, the largest craft brewery in America.
Boston, MA
6. (10) North American Breweries
Catchy name. They own the Dundee, Genesee, Labatt, MacTarnahan, Magic Hat, and Pyramid brands.
Rochester, NY
7. (6) Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Just announced they’ll be setting up shop on the other side of the country.
Chico, CA
8. (7) New Belgium Brewing Co.
See number 7.
Fort Collins, CO
9. (8) Craft Brew Alliance, Inc.
No longer sorta-kinda-owned by AB-InBev.
Portland, OR
10. (9) The Gambrinus Company
The lone Texas brewery on the list.
San Antonio, TX
11. (13) Deschutes Brewery
The dollars-to-donuts favorite to be the next west coast brewery to expand production facilities east of the Mississippi.
Bend, OR
12. (14) Matt Brewing Co.
Anyone else not know that this brewery is over 100 years old?
Utica, NY
13. (19) Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
The house that Oberon built. With help from Two Hearted.
Galesburg, MI
14. (11) Minhas Craft Brewery
Complete, absolute shit.
Monroe, WI
15. (17) Harpoon Brewery
Still, nobody cares.
Boston, MA
16. (36) Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Moved up twenty places in two years!?! They’ll probably crack the top 10 after their Chicago facility opens.
Petaluma, CA
17. (16) Boulevard Brewing Co.
The best brewery in Missouri, with apologies to that brewery in St. Louis. You know, Urban Chestnut.
Kansas City, MO
18. (23) Stone Brewing Co.
Arrogant bastards.
Escondido, CA
19. (24) Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
They pulled back from some markets, but grew anyway.
Milton, DE
20. (27) Brooklyn Brewery
Not the only growing brewery in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn, NY
21. (18) Alaskan Brewing and Bottling Co.
Fell three places even after a Midwest invasion.
Juneau, AK
22. (35) Long Trail Brewing Co.
Big jump from a brewery I know next to nothing about.
Burlington, VT
23. (26) August Schell Brewing Co.
Who is drinking all this August Schell? Maybe it’s just the Grainbelt sales …
New Ulm, MN
24. (31) Shipyard Brewing Co.
See number 22.
Portland, ME
25. (28) Abita Brewing Co.
Their Turbodog is one of the few brown ales I’ve not disliked.
Abita Springs, LA
26. (n/a) World Brews/Winery Exchange
Does this fucking count? All they do is private label stuff. Apparently if you simply broker the sale of beer between a brewery and a brand holder the Brewers Association considers you a brewery.
Novato, CA
27. (33) Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Some decent growth from a great brewery.
Cleveland, OH
28. (32) New Glarus Brewing Co.
Not sure if this is a testament to how much beer they sell or how much people in Wisconsin drink.
New Glarus, WI
29. (22) Full Sail Brewing Co.
Lot of beer to be had out in Oregon.
Hood River, OR
30. (25) Pittsburgh Brewing Co.
Pittsburgh, PA
31. (29) Summit Brewing Co.
One of the Midwest’s stalwarts.
St. Paul, MN
32. (30) Anchor Brewing Co.
One of the few California breweries to drop in the rankings.
San Francisco, CA
33. (40) Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
They’re seemingly everywhere all of the sudden.
Paso Robles, CA
34. (n/a) Cold Spring Brewing Co.
The former Gluek, which was the former G. Gottlieb & Sons.
Cold Spring, MN
35. (39) Sweetwater Brewing Co.
A lone bright spot in the beer-challenged Deep South.
Atlanta, GA
36. (34) Rogue Ales Brewery
I kinda have a fake Rogue Nation Citizen ID card.
Newport, OR
37. (37) Mendocino Brewing Co.
I visited their original brewpub, a cool old building in Hopland, California. There’s a big sign in the main room saying basically that the building’s so old and rickety that you’re dead if there’s even a minor earthquake and don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Ukiah, CA
38. (42) Flying Dog Brewery
Frederick, MD
39. (41) Victory Brewing Co.
Look for these guys to climb the rankings in the next few years.
Downingtown, PA
40. (n/a) CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants
Tennessee and Colorado don’t seem to mix, but apparently it’s working. The unholy marriage of Gordon Birsch (fuck them) and Rock Bottom. (Thanks, commenter BeerBob.)
Chattanooga, TN,
Louisville, CO
41. (n/a) Oskar Blues Brewery & Tasty Weasel Tap Room
The craft-beer-in-a-can pioneers have sparked a revolution.
Longmont, CO
42. (44) Odell Brewing Co.
I’ve never had one of their beers.
Fort Collins, CO
43. (50) Stevens Point Brewery Co.
See number 28.
Stevens Point, WI
44. (n/a) Ninkasi Brewing Co.
Make some hop-heavy good stuff, and growing like crazy.
Eugene, OR
45. (43) BJ’s Chicago Pizza & Brewery
Yeah, but where do they rank on the Craft Pizzamakers list?
Huntington Beach, CA
46. (n/a) Blue Point Brewing Co.
Now they’re just making names up.
Patchogue, NY
47. (n/a) Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Yet another California brewery.
Cloverdale, CA
48. (20) Goose Island Brewing Co.
Shouldn’t this be listed under Anheuser-Busch? Take a guess as to why the such a precipitous drop …
Chicago, IL
49. (48) Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe
See number 47.
Eureka, CA
50. (n/a) Narragansett Brewing Co.
See number 46.
Providence, RI

Today is the feast day of St. Arnold, patron saint of beer.

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

Beer Dorks News

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Pizza Beer founder crying about failure of company, blames everyone else. Reminder, the beer tasted like vomit. Try having better ideas or making better products so you're not a failure.
It's Bud Light so doesn't really matter, but we expect this beer to be sitting around for awhile.
Indiana brewery to open with controversial beer names to "get the conversation going". Translation: taking advantage of serious issues for free publicity.
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