The Top 50 Annotated 2011

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This is my sixth annual annotated list of the Top 50 so you can see who moved up and down, who was new to the list and who dropped off. So here is this year’s list again annotated with how they changed compared to last year.

  1. Anheuser-Busch InBev; #1 last six years, no surprises
  2. MillerCoors; ditto for #2
  3. Pabst Brewing; ditto for #3
  4. D. G. Yuengling and Son; Same as last year
  5. Boston Beer Co.; Same as last year
  6. North American Breweries; 2nd year on the list, up 2 from #8 last year
  7. Sierra Nevada Brewing; Down 1 from #6 last year
  8. New Belgium Brewing; Down 1 from #7 last year
  9. Craft Brewers Alliance; Same as last year, after dipping down 1 the previous two years
  10. Gambrinus Company; Same as last year, though now listed as Gambrinus instead of Spoetzl
  11. Deschutes Brewery; Same as last year
  12. Matt Brewing; Up 1, after moving down 1 last year
  13. Bell’s Brewery; Up 2 from #15 last year
  14. Minhas Craft Brewery; Same as last year, after dropping 2 the prior year
  15. Harpoon Brewery; Up 1 from #16 last year
  16. Lagunitas Brewing; Jumped up 10 from #26 last year, their second such jump in 2 years, having been at #36 two years back
  17. Boulevard Brewing; Same as last year
  18. Stone Brewing; Up 5 from #23 last year
  19. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Same as last year, after shooting up 5 from #24 last year, being up 9, 5 and 4 the three previous years
  20. Brooklyn Brewery; Up 5 from #25 last year
  21. Alaskan Brewing; Down 1 from #20 last year
  22. Long Trail Brewing; Down 1 from #21 last year, after leaping up 14 from #35 the previous year
  23. August Schell Brewing; Down 1 from last year
  24. Shipyard Brewing; Up 4 from #28 last year
  25. Abita Brewing; Down 1 from last year
  26. World Brew/Winery Exchange; Up 11 from #37 last year
  27. Great Lakes Brewing; Up 4 from #31 last year
  28. New Glarus Brewing; Up 2 from #30 last year
  29. Full Sail Brewing; Down 2 from #27 last year
  30. Pittsburgh Brewing (fka Iron City); Up 3 from #33 last year
  31. Summit Brewing; Down 2 from #29
  32. Anchor Brewing; Same as last year
  33. Firestone Walker Brewing; Up 3 from #36 last year
  34. Cold Spring Brewing; Jumped up 13 from #47 last year
  35. SweetWater Brewing; Up 3 from #38 last year
  36. Rogue Ales Brewery; Down 1 from #35 last year
  37. Mendocino Brewing; Up 2 from #39 last year
  38. Flying Dog Brewery; Up 2 from #40 last year
  39. Victory Brewing; Up 2 from #41 last year
  40. CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants (Gordon Biersch/Rock Bottom); Now combined, last year Gordon Biersch brewpubs were #42 and Rock Bottom was #48
  41. Oskar Blues Brewing; Up 8 from #49 last year
  42. Odell Brewing; Up 3 from #45 last year
  43. Stevens Point Brewery; Up 1 from #44 last year
  44. Ninkasi Brewing; Not in Top 50 last year
  45. BJs Restaurant & Brewery; Down 2 from #45 last year
  46. Blue Point Brewing; Not in Top 50 last year
  47. Bear Republic Brewing; Not in Top 50 last year
  48. Goose Island Beer; Plummeted 30 from #18 last year, after selling their production brewery to Anheuser-Busch InBev
  49. Lost Coast Brewery; Not in Top 50 last year
  50. Narragansett Brewing; Not in Top 50 last year

Some new companies made the list, one from a merger — Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom — now CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants, along with Bear Republic, Blue Point, Lost Coast (which had been on the list two years ago), Narragansett and Ninkasi.

Off the list was Straub, Independent Brewers United (IBU), which was swallowed up by North American Breweries, Kona Brewing, which was folded into the Craft Brewers Alliance, and individually Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom were combined into CraftWorks Breweries & Restaurants.

If you want to see the previous annotated lists for comparison, here is 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 and 2006.

Comments

  1. says

    Jay,

    It looks like you might have #6, #7, and #8 in the wrong order (at least according to the press release).

    Congrats to Narragansett Brewing for making the list!

    -JW

  2. Steve says

    The Goose Island drop is definitely the most telling part of this story. I know that I purposefully stopped buying their beer after the sale. I wonder if that sentiment was reflected around the country and caused the drop.

    • says

      I doubt that’s the reason. Goose Island sold their production brewery to ABI, so those numbers no longer count since ABI is not considered a craft brewery. So the Goose Island numbers are from the brewpub and whatever portion of the year prior to the sale for the production beer sales.

  3. beerman49 says

    I have questions about North American Breweries, which is one off my radar:

    1. Is that the conglomerate that once was General Brewing (which sometime in the early 90′s bought up a lot of regional brands like Hamm’s, Oly, et al)?

    2. Where’s its HQ/main brewery?

    3. Or is it the one that contract-brews oddball “craft” brews that you see all over the place?

    I read labels all the time when I see unfamiliar brews that I might like to try, but I can’t recall ever seeing North American Breweries. I’m aware of the one in Monroe WI that does the canned “Simpler Times” for Trader Joe’s, & I know there’s one in MN (I think near M-SP) that does a lot of bottled brews (mostly ales).

    For sure, finding out who’s doing what is becoming ever-harder to keep track of.

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