Wednesday, April 01, 2015

By sales, the top 50 breweries and the top 50 'craft' breweries in the U.S.

It's the list of the biggest 50 'craft' breweries 1 in the U.S., hot off the (U.S.) Brewers Association's presses. Released 31 March 2015, the rankings are based on sales volumes.

New to the list, at number one, is Yuengling, which only last year was not considered a 'craft' beer by the BA. Based in Pennsylvania, Yuengling is the oldest operating brewery in the United States (founded in 1829), and is still family-owned.

The actual sales numbers will be published in the May/June issue of The New Brewer, the trade journal of the BA. (Much of that information will be proprietary.) In 2013, Yuengling produced 2,500,000 barrels of beer (according to Wikipedia). Right behind it, for 2014, was Boston Beer, a corporation, maker of Sam Adams beers. (In 2013, both produced about the same volume; one would suppose the same for 2014.).

Yuengling tin

Compare that list to this list, below, also from the BA: the top 50 breweries overall. It ranks not only 'craft' breweries, but the big bad boys (Anheuser-Busch InBev and its ilk), and those breweries the BA does not consider to be 'craft.' 1

In this list, Yuengling and Boston Beer fall to fourth and fifth. Anheuser-Busch InBev remains, of course, number one. According to Statista, AB-Inbev produced 106,427,250 barrels in 2014, and almost four times that, worldwide.

Read the footnotes to this list. 2 They identify some of the brands held by various brewing companies. For example,
  • What is North American Breweries, at position number six?
    Dundee, Genesee, Labatt Lime, Magic Hat, and Pyramid brands.
  • What is the Craft Brew Alliance, at ninth?
    Kona, Omission, Red Hook, and Widmer Brothers brands.
  • Then there's the largest contract-brewer in the United States, Pabst, at #3.
    Owner of Pabst, Schlitz, National Bohemian, and 28+ other brand families, Pabst does not own an actual brewery.
  • And what the heck is the World Brews/Winery Exchange, at position 43?

Top 50 U.S. Breweries (2014)


  • 1 The BA considers an American 'craft' brewery to be:
    • Small: >Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.
    • Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
    • Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

  • 2 Footnotes for top 50 overall breweries
    Top 50 U.S. Overall Brewing Companies notes: (a) includes Bass, Beck’s, Blue Point, Bud Light, Budweiser, Busch, Goose Island, Landshark, Michelob, Rolling Rock, Shock Top and Wild Series brands. Does not include partially owned Coastal, Craft Brew Alliance, Fordham, Kona, Old Dominion, Omission, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers brands; (b) includes A.C. Golden, Batch 19, Blue Moon, Colorado Native, Coors, Keystone, Killian’s, Leinenkugel’s, Miller and Tenth & Blake brands; (c) includes Pabst, Schlitz and 28+ other brand families; (d) includes Alchemy & Science and Sam Adams brands. Does not include Twisted Tea or Angry Orchard brands; (e) includes Dundee, Genesee, Labatt Lime, Magic Hat and Pyramid brands; (f) includes Kona, Omission, Red Hook and Widmer Brothers brands; (g) includes BridgePort, Shiner and Trumer brands; (h) includes Bell’s and Upper Hand brands; (i) includes Sleeman and Sapporo brands; (j) includes Mountain Crest and 10 other brand families; (k) includes Boulevard and Ommegang brands; (l) includes Flying Bison, Saranac and Utica Club brands; (m) includes Casco Bay, Sea Dog and Shipyard brands; (n) includes James Page, Point and Whole Hog brands; (o) includes Grain Belt and Schell’s brands; (p) includes Long Trail, Otter Creek, The Shed and Wolaver’s brands; (q) private label brands, primarily for grocery store chains; (r) includes Iron City and 17 other brand families.

  • This blog is based in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia area. One brewery from here hit both lists Flying Dog, of Frederick, Maryland, is the 37th biggest 'craft' brewery, and 44th overall. (In 2013, it was 33rd and 43rd, respectively.)
  • Compare these 2014 rankings, with those from 2013: here.
  • Read the BA's original press release announcing the figures: here.
  • How 'craft' beer fared overall in 2014: here.
  • How U.S. beer fared overall in 2014: here.
  • More about the (U.S.) Brewers Association: here.

  • For more from YFGF:

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