Who Are Craft Beer’s Big Dogs?
The Brewers Association has released a list of craft beer's top 50 breweries, ranked by volume. The top three, as you might guess, are Boston Beer Company, Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium. Even on a master list of American breweries that includes mega-players like Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, Pabst, and Yuengling, these top three craft breweries occupy the fifth, sixth, and seventh positions, respectively. (It's striking to note that craft beer makes up just 4.3 percent by volume of overal market share, the remaining 95.7 percent belonging to business comglomerates. It's not like the craft beer "big three" are corporate titans...) The closest thing we've got to a mass-production brewery in our region is Delaware's Dogfish Head, which ranks sixteenth among craft breweries and twenty-fourth overall.
Just how much beer is Dogfish churning out? Production details and industry trends for Sam Caligione's shop and a host of other American brewers will appear in the May/June issue of The New Brewer, available May 18, so stay tuned for that. Meantime, if you're chomping at the bit to know more about the commercial power of the craft beer industry as a whole, consult the 2009 sales numbers and craft brewing stats, both released by the Brewers Association.
Photo by calebdzahnd used under a Creative Commons license