The Brewers Association released their annual list of the top 50 breweries, craft and overall, based on sales figures from 2014. Craft breweries continued to grow over the past year, and 42 of the 50 top-selling breweries overall were craft breweries.
The 50 Top-Selling Craft Breweries
From the press release: “The companies on this list include the vanguard of the craft industry,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “They are exposing new beer lovers to craft, opening new markets and creating opportunities for the entire category. As they continue to grow, so will the availability of innovative and high-quality beers produced for all to enjoy.”
On top of the Craft Breweries list, this year is D.G. Yuengling & Son of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Yuengling ousted Boston Beer Company for the top spot this year, thanks to a change in the Brewers Association’s definition of a craft brewery. The new definition relaxed their stance on adjunct grains – such as rice or corn – allowing Yuengling and others to be considered a craft brewery.
To be considered a craft brewery, a company must be “small, independent and traditional.” Small, means that their annual beer production is 6 million barrels or less. Independent means that less than 25% of the company can be owned by an alcohol industry corporation. And in the new definition, traditional means that the beers flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.
Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing Co was the top-selling Colorado brewery, coming in as the third largest craft brewery behind Yuengling and Boston Beer. New Belgium was the 8th top-selling brewery in overall sales among all U.S. brewing companies. Other Colorado breweries who made either the Top Craft Breweries or Top Overall Breweries lists are Oscar Blues Brewing, Odell Brewing Co, Left Hand Brewing, Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries (operator of Rock Bottom, Gordon Biersch, etc.) and Breckenridge Brewing.
Earlier this month the Brewers Association released 2014 growth data for small, independent brewers which revealed that for the first time ever, craft brewers reached double-digit volume share of the marketplace (11%) in 2014. Craft brewers saw an 18% increase in volume and 22% increase in retail dollars value.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association is a not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers. More information on the Brewers Association and copies of both press releases can be found on the Brewers Association website.