In today’s article we’re going to discuss the top 10 large craft micro brewery beer companies.
First, we invite you to try a bottle of Blake’s Hard Cider. It’s no craft beer, but we put just as much heart n’ soul into every bottle giving you a unique drinking experience that’ll make you think twice about hard cider.
Now before listing the largest American craft brewery companies by volume, first and foremost we must identify what makes a large craft beer producer.
‘Craftiness’ is typically synonymous with ‘small’. In the craft beer community expectations of niche depends on the individual. For some national production is ‘too big for craft’, even state-wide; while for others beer must be made, produced and shipped from Grandpa’s backyard farm where relatively few souls have had the pleasure to experience it’s unique taste and aroma.
To solve this issue of ambiguity the Brewers Association (BA), a non-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers, stepped in as distinguished, qualified and respected representatives of ‘all things craft’ by drawing a line in the sand.
Here are the 3 craft brewery qualifiers:
Less than 25% can be owned and/or controlled by big brand alcohol beverage competitors.
Barrel production MUST be 6 million barrels or LESS (anything greater disqualifies)
Recipe ingredients must meet the BA’s definition.
There are more qualifiers but that’s the gist of it.
Without further ado, the following top 10 list are the largest craft beer business breweries by barrels in the world:
G. Yuengling and Son, Inc – Pottsville, Pennsylvania
~ ~ America’s OLDEST Craft Brewery ~ ~
Established in the heart of Boston, the story of Yuengling is a tale of a young immigrant, David. G. Yuengling, arriving from Germany settling in the sleepy, coal-mining town of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
With a dream to build a legacy carrying his name for generations he began Yuengling, what was then known as “Eagle Brewery”, on Centre Street in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
Prohibition nearly crippled the business until it came back with swift vengence after ending in 1933 producing “Winner Beer”.
Fast forward several decades and D.G Yuengling and Son, Inc. are now the largest family-owned and operated U.S brewery since 2012 and counting.
Boston Beer Co. – Boston, Massachusetts
~ ~ America’s Most Famous Beer ~ ~
Known nationwide for their line of Samuel Adam’s beer, the Boston Beer Company is a force to be reckoned with.
For decades BBC Has shared a common passion for bringing great bear to beer lovers everywhere. Though large in scope and size they’re not one to rest on their laurels.
In 2000 BBC released the world’s most extreme naturally-fermented beer along with Samuel Adams Utopias, a beer rivaling some of the world’s finest cognacs and ports.
Constantly innovating and pushing the envelope they’ve since ventured into unknown territory (our territory, to be exact) with Angry Orchard hard cider.
We think it’s safe to say there is no place they won’t explore, the same could be said of their craft beers. Always a different experience keeping you on the edge of your seat!
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co – Chico, California
~ ~ Home Brewing In Big Bottles ~ ~
Common thinking about this list of large breweries is that they began their journey believing they would be as popular as they are today. Not true. At least, not in the case of Sierra Nevada.
Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada, started with a simple goal: brew beers he would enjoy for himself. He started with a small homebrew shop, a love of American hops and tons of passion. Decades later due to overwhelming demand the public fell in love and helped land Sierra Nevada as third place on this short list of heavy hitting craft beer makers.
New Belgium Brewing Co – Fort Collins, Colorado
~ ~ Take A Wild Ride At Tour De Fat ~ ~
If you haven’t heard of New Belgium, you’ve been living under a rock!
This brewery is well known for it’s customer-service oriented image and 90-minute long tours by knowledgeable and passionate experts in their field.
The tours are so good, in fact, people across the globe plan days in advance for a coveted spot on their small roster.
Oh, and did we mention they’re ‘free’?
But you’re never left high and dry. You get 4 samples of their very best (also free) in addition to an outdoor area and food trucks providing a pleasant and relaxing experience.
If this is the way they treat their local visitors, it’s no wonder their reputation carried them comfortably in the number #4 spot on the list.
Gambrinus – San Antonio, Texas
~ ~ Beer Brings Enjoyment To The World ~ ~
Founded by Carlos Alvarez 1986 modeling the mysterious Gambrinus – the King of Beers who invented the slogan, “Toast!” in celebration of life. The Gambrinus Company had humble beginnings as a small beer importer serving the southwest of America.
Their most popular beers include Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo and Pacifico Clara served largely on the East coast.
Bell’s Brewery, Inc – Comstock, Michigan
~ ~ Michigan’s Finest ~ ~
Named as one of the best and brightest companies to work for in the country by the National Association for Business Resources, Bell’s is the only brewery recognized at the national level. Being #6 on the list leaves no question that happy employee’s make for amazing beer.
Some of their year round beers include their flagship, Amber Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, Lager of the Lakes, Oarsman Ale, Oatsmobile Ale, Porter and Third Coast Beer. Seasonals include Smitten Golden Rye Me, Best Brown Ale and Winter White Ale.
As Michigan producers of America’s finest hard apple cider we’re proud to be in good company with our fellow neighbors next door.
Deschutes Brewery – Bend, Oregon
~ ~ A Pioneer of American Craft Beer ~ ~
Deschutes Brewing, hailing out of Bend, Oregon, is a west coast brewery with a drive to bring their unique flavor, style and taste to the east. Others on the list Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and Stone have already made the transition successfully, now folks back east are anxiously waiting for their big debut.
Deschutes top 5 offerings according to popular online beer magazine PasteMagezine.com are Black Butte Porter, Deschutes flagship beer not quite IPA and not quite pale but a Porter, Mirror Pond, Chasin Freshies, Jubelale and The Abyss.
Minhas Craft Brewery – Monroe, Wisconsin
~ ~ The Midwest’s OLDEST Brewery ~ ~
Dubbed “Midwest’s OLDEST Brewery”, Minhas is located in the historic Monroe, WI area. To say this thriving company has been through hell and back is an understatement. They’ve been through the Great Depression, Prohibition, escaped brushes of death with the mob and endured two major fires. This companies tenacity and will to survive is what landed them in the top 10.
Of all other entries what makes Minhas particularly unique is their private custom label beer, spirits and liqueur production, packaging, marketing and distribution service.
The barrier of entry to craft beer production is no longer a factor because if you dream it, you can drink it!
Stone Brewing Co – Escondido, California
~ ~ All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth ~ ~
Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, Stone has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth”. Quite the achievement. Next stop, planet Mars!
As a testament to their growing success they wil be the first American craft brewer to independently build, own and operate a brewery in Europe.
Known world-wide for it’s bold, flavorful and hob-centric beers, Stone’s reputation is at an all time high.
A few of Stones offerings include Stone Classic IPA, Delicious, Ruination Double IPA, Cali-Belgique, Smoked Porter, Mocha and Citrusy Wit to name a few.
Brooklyn Brewery – Brooklyn, New York
~ ~ America’s FIRST and OLDEST Craft Brewery ~ ~
Last but not least is Brooklyn, NY very own brewery, Brooklyn Brewery. Dedicated to enriching the lives of the communities they serve, Brooklyn Brewery have assembled talent from every corner of the globe to deliver the best drinking experience with James Beard, an award-winning brewmaster, at the helm.
It’s a varied and eclectic group indeed! From musicians to writers to Arabic and Spanish speakers.
A few of Brooklyn Breweries offerings include the Brooklyn Lager, Sorachi Ace, American Ale, Defender IPA, Scorcher IPA, Pilsner, Greenmarket Wheat and Brown Ale to name a few.
~ ~ CONCLUSION ~ ~
This concludes this list of the largest breweries by size. This is the updated list as of 2016. Certainly this will fluctuate over the years as more up and comers sneak past the largest producers creating more competition on the list. This is a good thing. There’s a market that WANTS craft beer and lots of it. If it can be done on a large scale while still maintaining it’s ‘hometown charm’ it started with, why not go for it?
If you’re around our neck of the woods stop on buy and say “Howdy” at 17985 Armada Center Rd. Armada, MI 48005, give us a call at 586-784-9463 or shoot us an email at email@example.com for questions or inquiries. You can also visit us at BlakesHardCider.com for more information about our latest products and exciting upcoming events.