The US Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade group that tabulates production statistics for US breweries—today released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the States, based on 2011 beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 36 are small and independent¹ craft brewing companies.
Craft brewers saw volume rise 13 per cent, with a 15 per cent increase in retail sales from 2010 to 2011, representing a total barrel increase of 1.3 million.
In 2011, craft brewers represented 5.68 per cent of volume of the US beer market, up from 4.97 in 2010, with production reaching 11,468,152 barrels. Additionally, the BA estimates the actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2011 was $8.7 billion, up from $7.6 billion in 2010. Increased retails sales represented 9.1 per cent of the $95.5 billion dollar U.S. beer market.
“While the overall beer market experienced a 1.32 per cent volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing five per cent total market volume share for the first time,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the variety of styles and flavours to choose from, Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers.”
The actual volume of beer sold by the top brewers won’t be released for several weeks, but below are tables that show the top 50 US craft breweries, the top 50 breweries overall and the beer volumes produced by the top 10 in 2009. One barrel equals approximately 1117 litres of beer, so in 2009 Sierra Nevada produced almost 84 million litres of beer. By way of comparison, our own Coopers last year produced almost 63 million litres.
The growth of the industry is astounding too, with 250 brewery openings and only 37 closings, the BA also reported that 1,989 breweries were operating in the U.S. in 2011—an 11 per cent increase from the previous year.
Small brewers employed approximately 103,585 workers in the U.S in 2011.
“We saw rapid growth in brewery openings last year, particularly with microbrewery start-ups, and these numbers are poised to rise even more in 2012,” added Gatza. “In February 2012, we already topped 2,000 operating breweries—a truly remarkable milestone. We look forward to even more success and the continued expansion of the craft beer market.”
Table 1. Top 50 Craft Brewing Companies (Based on 2011 beer sales volume)
[table id=18 /]
Table 2. Top 10 US craft breweries 2009 with production volume
[table id=7 /]
1 barrel = 117 litres
*Note, following the 2010 sale of Magic Hat Brewing Co(#8), which also owns Pyramid Breweries Inc (#5), to North American Breweries in August 2010, these breweries no longer fall within the definition of craft beer on account of the ‘independent’ element of the definition. North American Breweries describes itself as “the national platform for investments and growth in the beer and malt beverages industries for KPS Capital Partners, LP.” The ease with which breweries can fall out of the definition on account of ownership is a cause for some criticism.
Table 2. Top 50 Overall Brewing Companies (Based on 2011 beer sales volume)