15 Apr 2009 @ 9:04 AM 

Top 50 Breweries: What’s changed in a year.


Earlier this week, the Brewers Association released its list of Top 50 Breweries by Sales Volume for both Craft Breweries and otherwise. You’ll probably be a little surprised by some of the breweries that show up in the NON-Craft Brewer list. The BA definition of a Craft Brewer: “An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional.”

Well.. okay.. that’s a discussion for another time.

Today! We get a pretty chart.

Top 50 Craft Breweries by Sales Volume

I was interested to see what had changed over the past year, and the answer is: Not a lot. This is good news to me. It suggests a fairly stable market, especially in the face of a global economic crisis. There’s a belief, or at least repeated line in the media, that beer is recession proof and while I’m not necessarily convinced that that’s true, this would suggest that if there was a drop in barrels sold over the past year, at least consumers stopped buying beer everywhere at the same time. Not having total number of barrels available makes that kind of hard to tell right off the bat.

There are two lines highlighted up there that I think merit a little bit of attention.

The first is Kona Brewing Company, which was the single largest climber in the rankings. Again, since actual number of barrels is omitted from this information we don’t know just how much of an increase that is or if places 10 – 30 are within 1,000 barrels of each other or what. Given that I recently started seeing their Pipeline Porter on a regular basis here on the East Coast, my guess would be that they’re benefiting from a really good distribution agreement.

The second highlight is the only new entrant on the list, the St. Louis Brewing Company or what most of us know as Schlafly Beer. So kudos there.

It’d been even more interesting to see the changes over the past few years, especially in terms of geographic distribution, but I can’t seem to find these figures back past 2007. If anybody’s got info saved up to play with, let me know.

Tags Tags: , , , , , ,
Categories: industry, news
Posted By: erik
Last Edit: 15 Apr 2009 @ 09 04 AM


Responses to this post » (3 Total)

  1. meg says:

    Kona’s Pipeline Porter has been the ‘beer of the week’ at my local dive bar (Rock It in Alexandria, VA) the last couple times I’ve been there. I’d been scratching my head wondering how it got there. I’m not complaining though – that’s a tasty beer, that is, and a nice change from my usual ale.

  2. Russ Carr says:

    WOOOOO Schlafly! Props to the largest American-owned brewery in St. Louis! Now, if only Dan Kopman, et al, took any pointers back from Beerfest a couple of weekends ago…maybe next year they’ll start climbing as fast as Kona…

    • Widy says:

      I guess that those figures would be drawn from the mebrems of the Brewers’ Society and then only those that submitted returns to them. I would guess that many small brewers would not have been able to afford Brewers’ Society fees, even if they particularly wanted to be a member. This was certainly the case with the new wave of micro-brewers, where the fees were prohibitively expensive and there was a minimum barrelage for eligibility anyway; hence SIBA was formed. I would think the society would be glad of 500 small brewers now that the society is just about extinct due to a lack of “big” brewers.According to some of my previous writings, the 1870 total given there is 5,164 commercial brewing licences short, but my reference for my figure of 33,840 would have been lost years ago.Also, there were three or four different classes of licence: Wholsale brewers, Victuallers (publican brewers?), farmers and private brewers.

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