The Brewer’s Association, a not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers, has released its annual list of the top 50 craft breweries in the United States. But in a world where many of the small guys are increasingly being bought up by international conglomerates, what exactly is a craft brewery? According to the Brewer’s Association:
Figure based on companies that met craft brewer definition for all or part of 2016. An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.
So who made the list? While it’s no surprise that breweries such as Boston Beer Co. and Yuengling — which are almost as ubiquitous as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors — topped the list, some of the others may surprise you. Alaskan Brewing at number 19 in the nation, ahead of household names like Abita and Anchor? They must be drinking a lot of beer up there…
Source: Brewer’s Association