Craft Beer Drinkers, Meet Your New Top 50

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Craft Beer Drinkers, Meet Your New Top 50
The Brewers Association has released its annual list of the Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies by sales volume.

Top 50 Craft Breweries – 2010

Rank Brewing Company City State
1 Boston Beer Co. Boston MA
2 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Chico CA
3 New Belgium Brewing Co. Fort Collins CO
4 Spoetzl Brewery* Shiner TX
5 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
6 Independent Brewers United  (IBU)* Burlington VT
7 Matt Brewing Co. Utica NY
8 Bell’s Brewery, Inc. Galesburg MI
9 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
10 Boulevard Brewing Co. Kansas City MO
11 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
12 Alaskan Brewing and Bottling Co. Juneau AK
13 Long Trail Brewing Co. Bridgewater Corners VT
14 Stone Brewing Co. Escondido CA
15 Abita Brewing Co. Abita Springs LA
16 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
17 Lagunitas Brewing Co. Petaluma CA
18 Full Sail Brewing Co. Hood River OR
19 Shipyard Brewing Co. Portland ME
20 Summit Brewing Co. St. Paul MN
21 New Glarus Brewing Co. New Glarus WI
22 Great Lakes Brewing Co. Cleveland OH
23 Anchor Brewing Co. San Francisco CA
24 Kona Brewery LLC* Kailua-Kona HI
25 Rogue Ales Newport OR
26 Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Paso Robles CA
27 Sweetwater Brewing Co. Atlanta GA
28 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
29 Victory Brewing Co. Downingtown PA
30 Gordon Biersch Brewing Co. San Jose CA
31 BJ’s Chicago Pizza & Brewery, Inc. Huntington Beach CA
32 Stevens Point Brewery Co. Stevens Point WI
33 Odell Brewing Co. Fort Collins CO
34 BridgePort Brewing Co.* Portland OR
35 Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurants Louisville CO
36 Oskar Blues Brewery Longmont CO
37 Blue Point Brewing Co. Patchogue NY
38 Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe Eureka CA
39 Big Sky Brewing Co. Missoula MT
40 North Coast Brewing Co. Inc. Fort Bragg CA
41 Mac and Jack’s Brewery Redmond WA
42 The Saint Louis Brewery, Inc. Maplewood MO
43 Bear Republic Brewing Co. Cloverdale CA
44 Karl Strauss Brewing Co. San Diego CA
45 Breckenridge Brewery Denver CO
46 Utah Brewers Cooperative Salt Lake City UT
47 Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants Chattanooga TN
48 Saint Arnold Brewing Co. Houston TX
49 Real Ale Brewing Co. Blanco TX
50 Ninkasi Brewing Co. Eugene OR

Looking over the list, I find a few stories hidden between the numbers. The first is the impact of last year’s acquisitions and mergers. In 2009, Pyramid and Magic Hat were ranked 5th and 8th respectively. That year they also merged to form Independent Brewers United (IBU). IBU comes in 6th on this list, behind Deschutes, who Pyramid alone had outsold just last year. The ranking comes not as a result of lower production, but due to newly-formed IBU’s acquisition by North American Breweries (Genesee, Labatt USA). NAB, not considered a craft brewery by the Brewers Association, received the credit for all of IBU’s post acquisition production, five months in total. The relocated IBU totals, paired with increases from NAB’s other acquisitions and partnerships, allowed the company to rise two spots in the overall, jumping both Spoetzl (Shiner) and Craft Brewers Alliance (Redhook, Widmer), who added Kona during the same period. And Long Trail, who sat at 25th in ’09, rocketed up twelve positions on the list after acquiring Otter Creek/Wolaver’s last year.

The next thing that stands out is the production increases made by breweries in the middle of the list. While the Brewers Association does not provide numbers to accompany it ranking, a little precision internetting can turn up a wealth of information. Lagunitas maxed out its production capabilities last year, producing over 100,000 barrels and running 24/7 to keep up with demand. This translates to a nine spot boost in the ranking, the largest of any company that was not part of a merger or acquisition. And with a $9.5 million dollar brewery expansion on the horizon, I expect Lagunitas will continue its rise through the ranks. Several breweries that recently finished expanding, including Dogfish Head and Oskar Blues, also saw significant increases in their ranking. Eight breweries in all moved up at least five positions this year, Stevens Point, Blue Point, North Coast and Bear Republic rounding out those already mentioned.

Finally, we come to Eugene’s very own Ninkasi, who squeaked onto this year’s list in the 50th position. While cracking the top 50 is a momentous achievement, I don’t expect the increasingly ubiquitous N to stay near the bottom for long. According to the OLCC’s production totals for 2010, Bridgeport, who now sits at 34th, only out-produced Ninkasi by 2,300 barrels. The reason for the disparity in the ranking is the difference between the way between sale volume and production are calculated. Sales volume includes portions of production from both the previous and current periods. Since Ninkasi’s massive build-out occurred last year, the resulting production increase won’t be fully realized until the ’11 report is released next April. It would not surprise me in the least to see Ninkasi join Bridgeport near the middle of the pack next year.

In any case, it’s time to get back to the Timbers’ routing of Chicago (sorry Matt). If you’re doing the same, I’m going to assume you already have a beer in hand. Why not raise it high and toast Oregon’s newest member of the Craft Brewing Top 50?

Cheers!
Kevin

reprinted with permission from Craft Beer Drinkers, Meet Your New Top 50 « Beer and Coding in Eugene.

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