(NEXSTAR) – Did you crack open a cold one last year? There’s a decent chance that, if you did, it was one from a small, independent craft brewer.
Last year alone, those craft brewers produced nearly 25 million barrels of beer, according to a new report from the Brewers Association, the trade association that represents small and independent craft brewers in the U.S.
“Craft brewer sales rebounded in 2021, lifted by the return of draught and at-the-brewery traffic,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “However, the mixed performance across business models and geographies — as well as production levels that still lag 2019 — suggest that many breweries remain in recovery mode. Add in continuing supply chain and pricing challenges, and 2022 will be a critical year for many brewers.”
Last year also saw a record number of craft breweries operating at 9,118.
The Brewers Association released a list of the 50 craft breweries, as well as the overall brewing companies in the U.S., that recorded the greatest beer sales volume.
D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc., based in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, landed in the top spot for the best-selling craft breweries. The company, the oldest operating in the U.S., is well-known for its Yuengling Lager and even offers a Hershey’s Chocolate Porter in the fall.
Coming in second was the Boston Beer Co. with locations in Boston and Milton, Delaware. If you’re a beer drinker, you’ve likely heard of their brands Samuel Adams and Dogfish Head. The company is also responsible for Truly Hard Seltzer and Angry Orchard Hard Cider.
Breweries with locations in California occupied the majority of the top ten most popular breweries, including Sierra Nevada Brewing, Duvel Moortgat, Gambrinus, and Stone Brewing.
Three Floyds Brewing Co. of Munster, Indiana, made the top 50. It’s the sole Indiana brewery on the list.
The craft brewer is perhaps best known for its popular Zombie Dust, an “intensely hopped and gushing undead Pale Ale [that] will be one’s only respite after the zombie apocalypse.” Another favorite is Gumballhead, an “American wheat ale brewed with white wheat and dry hopped with hand-selected hops from the Yakima Valley.”
Alpha King is also a signature beer and fans look forward to the special annual release of its Dark Lord Imperial Stout.
Three Floyds has been ranked among the best breweries in the world in multiple years, according to RateBeer. It placed sixth worldwide in the 2020 rankings.
Here are the top 10 craft breweries of 2021:
- D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. (Pottsville, PA)
- Boston Beer Co., Boston (Boston and Milton, DE)
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA)
- Duvel Moortgat USA (Paso Robles, CA; Kansas City, MO; Cooperstown, NY)
- Gambrinus (Berkeley, CA and Shiner, TX)
- Bell’s Brewery, Inc. (Comstock, MI)
- CANarchy (Longmont, CO; Tampa, FL; Salt Lake City; Dallas)
- Artisanal Brewing Ventures (Downington, PA; Lakewood, NY; Brooklyn)
- Stone Brewing (Escondido, CA)
- SweetWater Brewing Co. (Atlanta)
With 10 craft breweries on the list, California had the greatest presence of any state on the top 50 list. New York was closest behind with four. Multiple other states – Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin – each had three.
Below are the other top-selling craft breweries, courtesy of the Brewers Association:
|Deschutes Brewery||Bend, OR|
|New Glarus Brewing Co||New Glarus, WI|
|Brooklyn Brewery||Brooklyn, NY|
|Matt Brewing Co||Utica, NY|
|Gordon Biersch Brewing Co||San Jose, CA|
|Abita Brewing Co||Covington, LA|
|Minhas Craft Brewery||Monroe, WI|
|Stevens Point Brewery||Stevens Point, WI|
|Great Lakes Brewing Company||Cleveland, OH|
|Odell Brewing Co||Fort Collins, CO|
|Harpoon Brewery||Boston, MA|
|Summit Brewing Co||Saint Paul, MN|
|Allagash Brewing Company||Portland, ME|
|Troegs Brewing Co||Hershey, PA|
|Georgetown Brewing Co||Seattle, WA|
|Three Floyds Brewing||Munster, IN|
|Athletic Brewing Company||Stratford, CT|
|Rhinegeist Brewery||Cincinnati, OH|
|Kona Brewing Co||Kailua-Kona, HI|
|August Schell Brewing Company||New Ulm, MN|
|Alaskan Brewing Co||Juneau, AK|
|Narragansett Brewing Co||Pawtucket, RI|
|Rogue Ales Brewery||Newport, OR|
|Kings & Convicts Brewing/Ballast Point||San Diego, CA|
|Flying Dog Brewery||Frederick, MD|
|Long Trail Brewing Co||Bridgewater Corners, VT|
|Lost Coast Brewery||Eureka, CA|
|Surly Brewing Company||Minneapolis, MN|
|Ninkasi Brewing Co||Eugene, OR|
|Creature Comforts Brewing Co||Athens, GA|
|21st Amendment Brewery||Bay Area, CA|
|Maui Brewing Co||Kihei, HI|
|Saint Arnold Brewing Co||Houston, TX|
|Scofflaw Brewing Co||Atlanta, GA|
|Shipyard Brewing Co||Portland, ME|
|Left Hand Brewing Company||Longmont, CO|
|Modern Times Drinks||San Diego, CA|
|Fiddlehead Brewing||Shelburne, VT|
|North Coast Brewing Co Inc||Fort Bragg, CA|
While larger brewing companies like Anheuser-Busch, Molson Coors, and Heineken reported the most sales in 2021, three of the top craft brewers ranked among the top 10 overall. D.G. Yuengling and Son, ranked 7th overall, edging out FIFCO USA, the parent company of Labatt Blue, Genesee Brewing Company, Seagram’s Escapes, and other brands.
In total, 40 craft breweries were among the top 50 selling companies of 2021.
A full list of the top overall brewing companies of 2021 can be found here.