Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

April 15, 2013

Beer Diary:

The 50 Biggest Breweries In America, 2012 Edition

The latest list from the Brewers Association.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
It’s that time again: the Brewers Association released their list of the top 50 breweries in America based on foamy output. I’ve presented it below for your reading pleasure, along with each brewery’s rank from last year and some pithy comments of my own design.

As usual, this year’s list is filled with thrills and chills, just like any good list should be. Like the debut of the Midwest’s own Founders Brewing Co. at 41. And … hmmm. Actually, that’s the only exciting thing about this year’s list. Instead, it’s basically the same as last year’s list. You know, a lot of California and New York breweries, with some Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and New England breweries strewn around to add some spice. And let’s not forget the macro brands at the top of the list, even though no one gives a rat’s shit about those.

One thing you should notice, however, is that Goose Island is no longer in the top 50 because THEY ARE OWNED BY ANHEUSER-BUSCH.

Go ahead and check out the BA’s actual 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.
Owners of Goose Island.
St. Louis, MO
2 (2) MillerCoors
Owners of Third Shift Amber Lager.
Chicago, IL
3 (3) Pabst Brewing Co.
Owners of nothing but a brand name.
Los Angeles, CA
4 (4) D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc.
Not considered craft by the Brewers Association, which is kind of a shame.
Pottsville, PA
5 (5) Boston Beer Co.
Now in cans!
Boston, MA
6 (6) North American Breweries
They own the Dundee, Genesee, Labatt, MacTarnahan, Magic Hat, and Pyramid brands.
Rochester, NY
7 (7) Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Look for them to leapfrog North American Breweries after thei eastern expansion ramps up.
Chico, CA
8 (8) New Belgium Brewing Co.
See number seven.
Fort Collins, CO
9 (9) Craft Brew Alliance, Inc.
They do the Kona, Omission, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers beers.
Portland, OR
10 (10) The Gambrinus Co.
They’re responsible for the BridgePort, Shiner and Trumer brands.
San Antonio, TX
11 (14) Minhas Craft Brewery
First of all, not a craft brewery, second of all, complete shit.
Monroe, WI
12 (11) Deschutes Brewery
Creeping ever eastward.
Bend, OR
13 (16) Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Diving face first into the Chicago maelstorm (or bubble?) of craft beer.
Petaluma, CA
14 (13) Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Expect to see more expansion.
Galesburg, MI
15 (12) Matt Brewing Co.
Utica, NY
16 (15) Harpoon Brewery
Nobody cares.
Boston, MA
17 (18) Stone Brewing Co.
I’m semi-amused by their heated rivalry with Lagunitas.
Escondido, CA
18 (20) Brooklyn Brewery
See number 15.
Brooklyn, NY
19 (17) Boulevard Brewing Co.
Another big craft brewery you don’t hear that much about in these parts.
Kansas City, MO
20 (19) Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Fall a place after announcing a modest pull back last year.
Milton, DE
21 (25) Abita Brewing Co.
Big jump for the Louisiana brewer.
Abita Springs, LA
22 (26) World Brews/Winery Exchange
Again, how the fuck is this considered a brewery?
Novato, CA
23 (24) Shipyard Brewing Co.
See number 16.
Portland, ME
24 (21) Alaskan Brewing Co.
Damn, they can make some good shit.
Juneau, AK
25 (23) August Schell Brewing Co.
Yes, they still brew Grain Belt.
New Ulm, MN
26 (28) New Glarus Brewing Co.
If you can’t find Spotted Cow in a bar, then you aren’t in Wisconsin. And vice versa.
New Glarus, WI
27 (22) Long Trail Brewing Co.
For some reason I always think they’re in New Hampshire.
Bridgewater Corners, VT
28 (27) Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Suddenly they’ve got double IPAs all over the place.
Cleveland, OH
29 (33) Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Once intriguing, now see number 15, except replace “ny” with “ca.”
Paso Robles, CA
30 (32) Anchor Brewing Co.
The grandaddy of craft breweries still can bring the goods.
San Francisco, CA
31 (36) Rogue Ales
My Rogue Nation citizenship has yet to be revoked.
Newport, OR
32 (31) Summit Brewing Co.
Their new Saga IPA is fucking awesome.
St. Paul, MN
t. 33 (29) Full Sail Brewing Co.
I’ve gotta visit this place sometime.
Hood River, OR
t. 33 (35) SweetWater Brewing Co.
Best brewery south of the Mason-Dixon line?
Atlanta, GA
35 (39) Victory Brewing Co.
Wrapping up a major expansion of their own.
Downingtown, PA
36 (41) Oskar Blues Brewery
Big jump for the canning pioneer.
Longmont, CO
37 (30) Pittsburgh Brewing Co.
Big drop for the shudder-inducing brewery. (Shudder.)
Pittsburgh, PA
38 (37) Mendocino Brewing Co.
They also do the Butte Creek, Kingfisher, and Olde Saratoga beers.
Ukiah, CA
39 (34) Cold Spring Brewing Co./Third Street Brewhouse
The former Gluek, which was the former G. Gottlieb & Sons.
Cold Spring, MN
40 (38) Flying Dog Brewery
Still got a wonder who up and moves from Colorado to New England, unless you’re Tim Tebow. Or is that reference already dated?
Fredrick, MD
41 (n/a) Founders Brewing Co.
The brewers of KBS break into the list.
Grand Rapids, MI
42 (44) Ninkasi Brewing Co.
Growing like a weed.
Eugene, OR
43 (40) CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants, Inc.
Fuck you, Gordon Birsch.
Chattanooga & Louisville,
44 (42) Odell Brewing Co.
Not to be confused with O’Fallon or O’Doul’s or O’Dude. I made one of those up.
Fort Collins, CO
45 (47) Bear Republic Brewing Co.
See number 29.
Cloverdale, CA
46 (43) Stevens Point Brewery
Most of their output is contract-brewed stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Stevens Point, WI
47 (46) Blue Point Brewing Co.
See number 15.
Patchogue, NY
48 (n/a) Southern Tier Brewing Co.
Definitely not Jafnyb. Welcome to the list, Pumking.
Lakewood, NY
49 (48) Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe
Still shocked to see how much this brewery pumps out.
Eureka, CA
50 (n/a) Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
Never had a Karl Strauss beer in my life.
San Diego, CA

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

Beer Dorks News

Want to know how healthy the craft beer industry is? As always, look to Portland. Craft pioneer Bridgeport announces sudden closure, adding to a growing list of PDX casualties.
Did Anheuser-Busch Chicago offer their shit beer to Cody Parkey before his missed field goal? Because that may explain why he "accidentally" biffed it.
Chicago now has the most breweries of any city in the country. Other things Chicago has the most of: murders, mobsters, and Ditkas.
Trying to spin it positive, BA releases end of year graphic. Only 5% growth in the craft sector when nearly 1000 new breweries opened? That's a collapse waiting to happen.
R.I.P. Tallgrass... another casualty as the regional/national craft beer market continues to get squeezed.
Wait... Constellation Brands cut all of the Ballast Point and Funky Buddha sales staff? They merged it with their Corona/Modelo staff?? We're SHOCKED!!!
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.
Hundreds of amazing beers in Wisconsin and the Cubs took back the one everyone drinks just because it exists and people have heard of it. How fitting...