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Brewers Association releases lists of top 50 breweries for 2015

Several breweries made massive jumps up the organization's yearly rankings.
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The Brewers Association—the nonprofit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers—today 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, 43 are what the BA considers “craft,” meaning they meet the organization’s requirements of being “small” (having annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less), “independent” (at least 75 percent owned or controlled by a craft brewer) and “traditional” (at least 50 percent of the beer produced by the brewery is made with “traditional or innovative” ingredients). The picture above shows the location of each of the top 50 breweries the BA considers craft.

The biggest change in the list compared to last year’s is the ranking for Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, which skyrocketed from the 31st position to 11th. Ballast Point was purchased by Constellation Brands, Inc. last year. Oskar Blues Brewery, which entered a partnership with Cigar City Brewing in March, moved to 14th place, up 10 spots since last year. Chicago’s Revolution Brewing Co. also made its first appearance on the list this year, squeaking in at number 50.

Check out both lists in their entirety below.

Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies

(Based on 2015 beer sales volume*)

Rank Brewing Company City State
1 D. G. Yuengling and 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 Lagunitas Brewing Co* Petaluma CA
7 Bell’s Brewery, Inc Kalamazoo MI
8 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
9 Minhas Craft Brewery Monroe WI
10 Stone Brewing Co Escondido CA
11 Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits* San Diego CA
12 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
13 Firestone Walker Brewing Co Paso Robles CA
14 Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co Longmont CO
15 Duvel Moortgat USA Kansas City & Cooperstown MO/NY
16 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
17 Matt Brewing Co Utica NY
18 SweetWater Brewing Co Atlanta GA
19 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
20 New Glarus Brewing Co New Glarus WI
21 Great Lakes Brewing Co Cleveland OH
22 Alaskan Brewing Co Juneau AK
23 Abita Brewing Co Abita Springs LA
24 Anchor Brewing Co San Francisco CA
25 Stevens Point Brewery Co Stevens Point WI
26 Victory Brewing Co Downingtown PA
27 August Schell Brewing Co New Ulm MN
28 Long Trail Brewing Co Bridgewater Corners VT
29 Summit Brewing Co Saint Paul MN
30 Shipyard Brewing Co Portland ME
31 Full Sail Brewing Co Hood River OR
32 Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
33 Southern Tier Brewing Co Lakewood NY
34 Rogue Ales Brewery Newport OR
35 21st Amendment Brewery Bay Area CA
36 Ninkasi Brewing Co Eugene OR
37 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
38 Narragansett Brewing Co Providence RI
39 Left Hand Brewing Co Longmont CO
40 Uinta Brewing Co Salt Lake City UT
41 Green Flash Brewing Co San Diego CA
42 Allagash Brewing Co Portland ME
43 Lost Coast Brewery Eureka CA
44 Bear Republic Brewing Co Cloverdale CA
45 Troegs Brewing Co Hershey PA
46 Karl Strauss Brewing Co San Diego CA
47 Breckenridge Brewery* Littleton CO
48 North Coast Brewing Co Fort Bragg CA
49 Four Peaks Brewing Co* Tempe AZ
50 Revolution Brewing Co Chicago IL
*Craft volume pro-rated in 2015 or will be pro-rated/exiting craft brewer data set in 2016

Top 50 U.S. Overall Brewing Companies2

(Based on 2015 beer sales volume)

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 and Son, Inc Pottsville PA
5 Boston Beer Co (d) Boston MA
6 North American Breweries (e) Rochester NY
7 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co Chico CA
8 New Belgium Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
9 Craft Brew Alliance (f) Portland OR
10 Lagunitas Brewing Co (g) Petaluma CA
11 Gambrinus (h) San Antonio TX
12 Bell’s Brewery, Inc (i) Kalamazoo MI
13 Deschutes Brewery Bend OR
14 Minhas Craft Brewery (j) Monroe WI
15 Stone Brewing Co Escondido CA
16 Sleeman Brewing Co (k) LaCrosse WI
17 Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits (l) San Diego CA
18 Brooklyn Brewery Brooklyn NY
19 Firestone Walker Brewing Co (m) Paso Robles CA
20 Founders Brewing Co Grand Rapids MI
21 Oskar Blues Brewing Holding Co (n) Longmont CO
22 Duvel Moortgat USA (o) Kansas City & Cooperstown MO/NY
23 Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Milton DE
24 Matt Brewing Co (p) Utica NY
25 SweetWater Brewing Co Atlanta GA
26 Harpoon Brewery Boston MA
27 New Glarus Brewing Co New Glarus WI
28 Great Lakes Brewing Co Cleveland OH
29 Alaskan Brewing Co Juneau AK
30 Abita Brewing Co Abita Springs LA
31 Anchor Brewing Co San Francisco CA
32 Stevens Point Brewery Co (q) Stevens Point WI
33 Victory Brewing Co Downingtown PA
34 August Schell Brewing Co (r) New Ulm MN
35 Long Trail Brewing Co (s) Bridgewater Corners VT
36 Summit Brewing Co Saint Paul MN
37 Shipyard Brewing Co (t) Portland ME
38 Full Sail Brewing Co Hood River OR
39 Odell Brewing Co Fort Collins CO
40 Southern Tier Brewing Co Lakewood NY
41 Rogue Ales Brewery Newport OR
42 21st Amendment Brewery Bay Area CA
43 Ninkasi Brewing Co Eugene OR
44 Flying Dog Brewery Frederick MD
45 Narragansett Brewing Co Providence RI
46 Pittsburgh Brewing Co (u) Pittsburgh PA
47 Left Hand Brewing Co Longmont CO
48 Uinta Brewing Co Salt Lake City UT
49 Green Flash Brewing Co San Diego CA
50 Allagash Brewing Co Portland ME

22 Comments

  • Tom says:

    How about a list for top craft breweries that actually make good beer and not by sales volume?

  • Megan says:

    I have a hard time believing Avery brewery in Boulder CO didn’t make this list..

    • Rob says:

      They’re in the middle of a big expansion and pulled out of several markets. I’m sure that goes up after the new place is running at capacity.

    • David says:

      Avery produced just over 50,000 barrels last year. For comparison, Left Hand put out about 75,000 last year, and bottom of the list is somewhere in the high 60,000s. They are a great brewery with better name recognition than a lot of those on the list. They just got held back in their growth when their plans to move out of the alley and into a big brewery got pushed back several years.

  • Ted says:

    This list is a simple ranking based on volume and I love how every year the comments get so confused! I’m a little bummed no one has mentioned that the list is rendered I valid by the lack of Pliny…. yet.

  • BenJammin says:

    No Real Ale Brewing Co. out of Texas!?? Everything they touch is solid gold!!!

  • David Schumpert says:

    You should also publish the volume of beer brewed by each brewery. For instance, one of my favorites, Carib Brewery “made over 1 million hecteliter of beer last year.” That’s bloody 26.4 MILLION GALLONS, and that’s just out of 3 not so breweries in the islands. (I just watched a 5 min video on their website to get this cause I wanted to try their other brands here in MD.)

    Agreed with Tom, we need another source besides Beer Advocate to rank beer and y’all should be the perfect choice!
    Thanks

  • Jeanie Witt says:

    What about Leinenkugel’s Brewery?

  • Paul Stephenson says:

    Not one brewery from North Carolina? This list is a joke

  • Dave says:

    What about Weed? Their jalapeno chile beer is amazing!

  • Ed says:

    From the text above – “independent” (at least 75 percent owned or controlled by a craft brewer)

    You need to remove Lagunitas, since they are 50% owned by a craft brewer and 50% owned by Heineken.

    https://lagunitas.com/heineken-and-lagunitas-brewing-company-partner-to-take-craft-beer-global#

  • […] Check out the rest of the list at Draft Magazine […]

  • Jason Evans says:

    Agree with all above comments. What about The Bruery? Also, +1 to Avery in Boulder, CO. Is this list only “craft breweries” owned by a parent company? Was this list sponsored by anyone? I think this list should include more independent brewers.

    • Jason Evans says:

      Now, I see that the list is probably based on distribution, so smaller brewers don’t have as much of a chance. It isn’t really a list of the “best beer”, but more a list of “best distribution”. If you aren’t owned by a parent company you won’t be as wide-spread, and so won’t make the list. Thumbs down to The Brewers Association. They’re in somebody’s pocket regardless of being a “non-profit”.

      • Zach Fowle says:

        The list is based entirely on sales data from 2015; it has nothing to do with parent companies or distribution. These are the top 50 breweries based on the amount of beer they sold last year, nothing more.

  • Nick says:

    Missing some great breweries from washington state as wel expecially in the Seattle market

  • […] I don’t drink, and I know I just told you not to drink in excess to prevent colorectal cancer, but here’s a bonus map link of the Top 50 Craft Brewers in the United States. […]

  • Jim says:

    How did founders come in 20th in sales but is not considered a craft brewery. What beer do they make that isn’t considered craft…. None I’ve ever heard of. Makes me wonder what your criteria really was.

  • Aaron says:

    It’s an industry association list. Those are ALWAYS going to be based on easily quantifiable numbers. The breweries on the list are likely all members of the association as well. They’re not going to do any kind of subjective quality ranking. They’re going to provide a list in order of something that can be readily measured and compared – barrels produced (in this case) or gross dollar volume sales or distribution points.

  • […] Browse The Brewer’s Associations‘s list of the U.S.’ ” top 50 breweries for 2015″. […]

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