Brewers Association releases list of 50 largest breweries of 2016

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The Brewers Association (BA) – the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers – just released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 40 were craft brewing companies.

The BA is the national organization that represents more than 70 percent of the current 5,200 breweries in America. The BA board of directors is the body that sets the definition of a craft brewer, which is:

  • 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 a beverage alcohol 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.

“With such a broad range of brewers in today’s beer landscape, the leading small and independent producers have helped build the craft brewing industry to what it is today,” said Bart Watson, chief economist of the BA. “Embracing their experience and ability to thrive and overcome challenges, the top producing craft brewers will continue to inspire, innovate and influence the future of beer.”

In a recent tweet, Watson noted that in 2016, 78.7% of Washington state’s breweries made just 1,000 barrels of beer or less. Even though Washington has more than 350 breweries, which is the second most in the U.S. after California, none of them cracked the Top 50. Breweries from 22 states made the list.

At this time, we do not have the list of the largest craft breweries in Washington, though it would no longer include Redhook or Elysian. Most likely, Washington’s Top 10 would include Georgetown, Mac & Jack’s, Fish, Fremont, Pike, and Hale’s Ales. Click here to see the Top 25 breweries in Washington in 2014.

Ballast Point Brewing and Lagunitas Brewing are absent from this year’s Top 50 craft breweries list because they no longer fit the BA definition of a craft brewer due to the ownership of more than 25 percent by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Ballast Point is now owned by Constellation Brands, while Heineken owns 50 percent stake in Lagunitas.

Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies

Rank Brewing Company City State
1 D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc Pottsville PA
2 Boston Beer Co Boston MA
3 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Chico CA
4 New Belgium Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
5 Gambrinus San Antonio TX
6 Duvel Moortgat Paso Robles/Kansas City/Cooperstown CA/MO/NY
7 Bell’s Brewery, Inc Comstock MI
8 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
9 Stone Brewing Co Escondido CA
10 Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co Longmont CO
11 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
12 Minhas Craft Brewery Monroe WI
13 Artisanal Brewing Ventures Downington/Lakewood PA/NY
14 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
15 SweetWater Brewing Co Atlanta GA
16 New Glarus Brewing Co New Glarus WI
17 Matt Brewing Co Utica NY
18 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
19 Alaskan Brewing Juneau AK
20 Abita Brewing Co Abita Springs LA
21 Great Lakes Brewing Co Cleveland OH
22 Anchor Brewing Co San Francisco CA
23 Stevens Point Brewery Stevens Point WI
24 August Schell Brewing Co New Ulm MN
24 Long Trail Brewing Co Bridgewater Corners VT
26 Summit Brewing Co Saint Paul MN
27 Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
28 Shipyard Brewing Co Portland ME
29 Full Sail Brewing Co Hood River OR
30 Rogue Ales Newport OR
31 21st Amendment Brewery Bay Area CA
32 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
33 Ninkasi Brewing Co Eugene OR
34 Gordon Biersch Brewing Co San Jose CA
35 Allagash Brewing Co Portland ME
36 Narragansett Brewing Co Providence RI
37 Green Flash Brewing Co San Diego CA
38 Tröegs Brewing Co Hershey PA
39 Uinta Brewing Co Salt Lake City UT
40 Bear Republic Brewing Co Cloverdale CA
41 Karl Strauss Brewing Co San Diego CA
42 Surly Brewing Co Minneapolis MN
43 Sixpoint Brewery Brooklyn NY
44 Left Hand Brewing Co Longmont CO
45 Lost Coast Brewery Eureka CA
46 Revolution Brewing Chicago IL
47 North Coast Brewing Co Fort Bragg CA
48 Avery Brewing Co Boulder CO
49 Real Ale Brewing Co Blanco TX
50 BJ’s Brewery Huntington Beach CA

Top 50 Overall Brewing Companies

Rank Brewing Company City State
1 Anheuser-Busch, Inc (a) Saint Louis MO
2 MillerCoors (b) Chicago IL
3 Pabst Brewing Co (c) Los Angeles CA
4 D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc Pottsville PA
5 North American Breweries (d) Rochester NY
6 Boston Beer Co (e) Boston MA
7 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Chico CA
8 New Belgium Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
9 Lagunitas Brewing Co (f) Petaluma CA
10 Craft Brew Alliance (g) Portland OR
11 Gambrinus (h) San Antonio TX
12 Duvel Moortgat (i) Paso Robles/Kansas City/Cooperstown CA/MO/NY
13 Ballast Point Brewing Co (j) San Diego CA
14 Bell’s Brewery, Inc (k) Comstock MI
15 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
16 Founders Brewing Co (l) Grand Rapids MI
17 Stone Brewing Co Escondido CA
18 Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co (m) Longmont CO
19 Sapporo USA (n) La Crosse WI
20 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
21 Minhas Craft Brewery (o) Monroe WI
22 Artisanal Brewing Ventures (p) Downington/Lakewood PA/NY
23 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
24 SweetWater Brewing Co Atlanta GA
25 New Glarus Brewing Co New Glarus WI
26 Matt Brewing Co (q) Utica NY
27 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
28 Alaskan Brewing Co Juneau AK
29 Abita Brewing Co Abita Springs LA
30 Great Lakes Brewing Co Cleveland OH
31 Anchor Brewing Co San Francisco CA
32 Stevens Point Brewery (r) Stevens Point WI
33 August Schell Brewing Co (s) New Ulm MN
33 Long Trail Brewing Co (t) Bridgewater Corners VT
35 Summit Brewing Co Saint Paul MN
36 Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
37 Shipyard Brewing Co (u) Portland ME
38 Full Sail Brewing Co Hood River OR
39 Rogue Ales Newport OR
40 21st Amendment Brewery Bay Area CA
41 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
42 Ninkasi Brewing Co Eugene OR
43 Gordon Biersch Brewing Co San Jose CA
44 Allagash Brewing Co Portland ME
45 Narragansett Brewing Co Providence RI
46 Green Flash Brewing Co (v) San Diego CA
47 Tröegs Brewing Co Hershey PA
48 Uinta Brewing Co Salt Lake City UT
49 Bear Republic Brewing Co Cloverdale CA
50 Pittsburgh Brewing Co (w) Pittsburgh PA

(Bolded = Small and independent craft brewer. )

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Aubrey Laurence

Aubrey has been a craft beer fanatic since the mid ’90s and he has written about beer for a wide variety of publications in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado for well over a decade. He has judged beer in multiple competitions, plus he has rated and taken notes on thousands of beers from all 50 states and 68 countries — visiting 16 of those countries on 6 continents. He is also a Certified Beer Server with the Cicerone Certification Program, an avid homebrewer, and a hop grower. In 2013 & 2014, he spearheaded Bellingham Beer Week. When he’s not drinking beer, he’s probably climbing a mountain somewhere. He lives in Bellingham with his wife and three cats. Follow him on twitter @AubreyLaurence.

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