Top 10 biggest US craft beer breweries
If you thought the craft beer bubble was about to burst, think again.
Whilst Europe may lay claim to a rich beer heritage, America has proven to be at the forefront of the craft beer industry.
This year alone the US craft beer sector soared 10% in value to $23.5 billion; this represents 21.9% of the US beer market value.
The US Brewers Association classifies an American craft brewer as being “small, independent and traditional”.
The association releases a list of the 50 biggest US craft brewers every year, ranking them based on the number of barrels of beer they sold the previous year.
Here are the top ten biggest US craft beer breweries this year:
10 | Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co. (343,000)
In Colorado, 2002, Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Inc was born, selling its flagship pale ale - ‘Dale’s Pale Ale’ - in a can. Years later the Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co. has grown to become the tenth largest craft beer brewer in America, selling 343,000 barrels of beer last year. The brewery only sells beer in cans or kegs, not bottles, and some credit the company as the first canned craft beer in America. By selling beer in a can the company says it keeps beer fresher for longer by eliminating the damaging effects of light and ingressed oxygen.
9 | Stone Brewing Co. (326,000)
Selling 346,000 barrels last year, Stone Brewing Co. is the largest brewery in Southern California. And the ninth largest craft beer brewer in America. Founded by long-time friends Greg Koch and Steve Wagner. Stone has been voted by the readers of Beer Advocate as the #1 "All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth.” The multifaceted company is the first stateside craft brewer to independently build, own, and operate a European branch, with a location in Berlin.
8 | Deschutes Brewery (374,313)
Named after the Deschutes River in Oregon, Deschutes Brewery is well known for its flagship brews such a Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Chainbreaker White IPA and Deschutes River Ale. The family and employee owned company sold 374,313 barrels of beer in 2016 and was named a global sustainability leader at the Business Intelligence Group’s Sustainability Awards.
7 | Bell’s Brewery Inc. (421,529)
Founder Larry bell used a 15-gallon soup pot to brew his very first beers for Bell’s Brewery. Now. the company has emerged as the seventh largest brewery in America, selling 421,529 barrels of craft beer last year/ Bell’s Brewery Inc. is now the seventh largest craft beer brewery in America. Today, the brewery consists of two separate brewing facilities, the original Kalamazoo Avenue facility, and the Avenue brewery, in Comstock, Michigan, which opened in 2003. The original Kalamazoo Avenue brewery is adjacent to its brew pub—Bell's Eccentric Cafe. The brewery’s current CEO is Laura Bell who was promoted last February.
6 | Duvel Moortgat (595,929)
Duvel Moortgat is a Flemish family-controlled company that owns several craft breweries in the USA including Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York, Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in Paso Robles, California. Last year the company sold 595,929 barrels of craft beer in America.
5 | Gambrinus Company (604,200)
Named after the legend of an icon synonymous with beer, brewing and joviality, Gambrinus Company is a privately-held company which owns Shiner Beers, in Shiner, Texas; Bridgeport Brewery in Portland, Oregon; and the Trumer Brewery in Berkeley, California. Founded in 1986, the company has grown to become the fifth largest craft beer brewer in America, selling 604,200 barrels of beer last year.
4 | New Belgium Brewing Company (957,969)
New Belgium Brewing Company’s flagship beer ‘Flat Tire’ is an ode to co-founder Jeff Lebesch’s bike journey through Belgium from brewer to brewer with “flat tires.” The aspiring homebrewer returned to Fort Collins, Colorado, and began his journey to create his own brewery the New Belgium Brewing Company. The company’s logo pays homage to this flagship fire-amber brew with a Flat-Tire bicycle logo. The company has grown since its creation, selling 957,969 barrels of craft beer in 2016.
3 | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co (1,136,969)
The third largest craft beer brewer in America is Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, located in Chico, California. Founded in 1979, by Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi, the brewery sold 1,136,969 barrels of beer last year. Grossman says the company’s name comes from his love of hiking in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
2 | Boston Beer Co (2,315,000)
The Boston Beer Company brews more than 60 types of Samuel Adams beer. It sold 2,315,000 barrels of the craft beer in 2016, making it the second biggest craft beer brewer in the US. Boston Beer launched Hardcore Cider in 1997, and Twisted Tea brand in 2000. Using the original family recipe for Louis Koch Laher, the company’s initial beer offering was Samuel Adams Boston Lager, a 4.8% amber or Vienna lager made by founder Jim Koch, the sixth-generation, a first-born son who wished to follow in his family's brewing footsteps.
1 | D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc (2,747,836)
Topping the list as the biggest craft beer company in the US is D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc. Founded in 1829, Yuengling became eligible for “craft brewer” status three years ago after the Brewers Association changed its definition of “adjunct grains”, such as corn, to be “traditional”, and therefore craft. D. G. Yuengling & Son, Inc, America’s Oldest Brewery, was created after founder David G. Yuengling emigrated from Wuerttemberg Germany to Pottsville, Pennsylvania. The company’s flagship beer is what customers may usually receive if a customer orders a ‘larger’ from many parts of Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.