The Brewers Association (BA) yesterday released its annual ranking of the top 50 craft brewers based on sales volume.
The top nine remain unchanged from last year’s ranking, but Artisanal Brewing Ventures — the parent company of Southern Tier, Victory and Sixpoint — overtook Deschutes Brewery for the tenth spot, knocking the Bend, Oregon-based brewer into eleventh place.
“We didn’t see too many huge shifts this year, and I think that makes sense in a more mature industry where dynamic growth is more challenging,” BA chief economist Bart Watson wrote in an email to Brewbound.
The BA defines craft breweries as those making fewer than 6 million barrels annually and not more than 25% owned by a beverage alcohol company that is not itself a craft brewery.
The top 10 craft breweries by sales volume in 2019, ranked in order, were:
- D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc., Pottsville, Pennsylvania
- Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams, Coney Island Brewery, Concrete Beach Brewery, Angel City Brewery), Boston, Massachusetts
- Sierra Nevada Brewing, Chico, California
- New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, Colorado
- Duvel Moortgat (Firestone Walker Brewing, Boulevard Brewing, Brewery Ommegang), Paso Robles, California; Kansas City, Missouri; Cooperstown, New York
- Gambrinus (Spoetzl Brewery, Trumer, Bridgeport), San Antonio, Texas; Berkeley, California; Portland, Oregon
- Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo, Michigan
- CANarchy (Oskar Blues, Cigar City, Wasatch, Squatters, Perrin, Three Weavers, Deep Ellum) Longmont, Colorado; Tampa, Florida; Salt Lake City, Utah; Comstock, Michigan; Inglewood, California; Dallas, Texas
- Stone Brewing, Escondido, California
- Artisanal Brewing Ventures (Victory, Southern Tier, Sixpoint), Downington, Pennsylvania; Lakewood, New York; Brooklyn, New York).
2019 included two major craft acquisitions that could change 2020’s rankings: the May 2019 merger of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and the Boston Beer Company, and the November 2019 acquisition of New Belgium Brewing by Kirin-owned Lion Little World Beverages. The additional volume from Dogfish Head, which ranked No. 13 this year, would not have been enough to propel Boston Beer ahead of Yuengling, Watson said. In 2020’s rankings, New Belgium will no longer be factored into the production numbers, as the company lost its status as a small and independent craft brewer as defined by the national trade group.
In December, Constellation Brands sold Ballast Point to Chicagoland-based craft brewery Kings & Convicts. Ballast Point’s November 2015 sale to Constellation removed the brand from the BA’s rankings, as it no longer met the trade group’s definition of small and independent. However, Ballast Point, which ranked No. 11 on the BA’s list in 2015, will once again count and independent craft in 2020.
These shifts, along with the current widespread on-premise shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have potential to rearrange next year’s list, particularly for draft-heavy breweries, such as California-based Karl Strauss, which ranked No. 39 in 2019.
“A prolonged shutdown would certainly shift this list,” Watson said. “Although most of the breweries on this list have a decent chain presence, some are far more draught heavy than others.”
In a press release, Watson noted that “2020 will be a markedly different year than 2019 for the craft brewing market” and added that the industry leaders on the list “are well positioned to help the craft category weather the current market uncertainty and rebound with the flavor, variety, and innovation that beer lovers have come to expect from small brewers.”
The biggest movers in 2019 were Munster, Indiana-based Three Floyds Brewing, which jumped eight spots to No. 31; Seattle, Washington-based Georgetown Brewing, which also jumped eight spots to No. 33; Eureka, California-based Lost Coast Brewing, which moved up six spots to No. 41; San Jose, California-based Gordon Biersch Brewing (a separate entity from the Craftworks Holdings-owned brewpub chain), which jumped five spots to No. 32; Fort Collins, Colorado-based Odell Brewing, which jumped four spots to No. 29.
The only newcomer to the list in 2019 was Stratford, Connecticut-based Two Roads Brewing, which landed at No. 47. Salt Lake City, Utah-based Uinta Brewing fell off the list after producing 50% fewer barrels in 2019. In 2018, the company was ranked No. 42.
Two New England breweries had the largest ranking drops from 2019: Portland, Maine-based Shipyard Brewing, which fell 13 spots to No. 42, and Bridgewater Corners, Vermont-based Long Trail Brewing, which fell six spots to No. 37. Fort Bragg, California-based North Coast Brewing slipped four spots to No. 50.