The Top 50 Annotated

I’d been thinking about looking at this year’s Top 50 Breweries list and comparing it to last year’s when someone pointed out (thanks Andy) that last year’s #5 (City Brewery, who bought the Latrobe Brewery from InBev) was not anywhere to be found on this year’s list, which seemed a bit strange. So sooner than I had planned, here is this year’s list again annotated with how they changed compared to last year. There are a few oddities, and seven breweries no longer on the list with ten new ones (not including some re-combining of companies).

  1. Anheuser-Busch; #1 last year, no surprises
  2. Miller Brewing; ditto for #2
  3. Coors Brewing; And #3, too
  4. Pabst Brewing; Feeding on retro hipness, Pabst maintained the #4 spot
  5. Boston Beer Co.; Moved up 2 spots from #7 last year
  6. D. G. Yuengling and Son; Stayed put as Boston beer leapfrogged over the oldest American brewer
  7. Sierra Nevada Brewing; Up 4 spots from #11 last year, cracking the top 10 with style
  8. Gambrinus; First time on this list, most likely by combining sales of their breweries, Spoetzl Brewery (#15 last year), BridgePort Brewing (#41 last year) and Pete’s Wicked (#44 last year), along with Trumer
  9. New Belgium Brewing; Up 3 spots from #12 last year to also crack the top 10
  10. High Falls Brewing; #10 last year, too
  11. Widmer Brothers Brewing; Shot up 6 spots from #17 last year
  12. Redhook Ale Brewery; Rode Widmer’s coattails up to remain one behind over a year ago
  13. Pittsburgh Brewing; Even in bankruptcy managed to stay at the unlucky #13 spot two years running
  14. Pyramid Breweries; Up 6 spots from #20 last year
  15. Minhas Craft Brewery; Up 31 spots from #46 last year when it was known as Joseph Huber
  16. Matt Brewing; Matt flat at #16
  17. Deschutes Brewery; Up 4 from #21 last year
  18. Boulevard Brewing; Up 5 from #23 last year
  19. Alaskan Brewing; Up 3 from #22 last year
  20. Harpoon Brewery; Up 4 from #24 last year
  21. Full Sail Brewing; Up 5 from #26
  22. Anchor Brewing; Up 5 from #27
  23. Kona Brewing; Not on the list last year
  24. Magic Hat Brewing; Up 9 spots from #33
  25. Gordon Biersch Brewing; Up 4 from #29
  26. Bell’s Brewery; Up 9 from #35
  27. Summit Brewing; Up 5 from #32
  28. August Schell Brewing; Up 2 spots from #30
  29. Shipyard Brewing; Up 5 from #34
  30. Mendocino Brewing; Up 1 from #31
  31. Goose Island Beer; Up 6 from #37
  32. Abita Brewing; Up an impressive from #39 given Hurricane Katrina
  33. Long Trail Brewing; Up 3 from #36
  34. Brooklyn Brewery; Up 4 from #38
  35. New Glarus Brewing; Up 10 from #45
  36. Rogue Ales; Up 6 from #42
  37. Stone Brewing; Up 11 from #48
  38. Stevens Point Brewery; Up 2 from #40
  39. Rock Bottom Brewery Restaurants; Up 4 from #43
  40. Firestone Walker Brewing; Up 7 from #47
  41. Great Lakes Brewing; Not in the Top 50 last year
  42. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Not in the Top 50 last year
  43. Straub Brewery; Not in the Top 50 last year
  44. Lagunitas Brewing; Up 6 from #50
  45. Flying Dog Brewery; Up 4 from #49
  46. Sweetwater Brewing; Not in the Top 50 last year
  47. Odell Brewing; Not in the Top 50 last year
  48. Mac and Jack’s Brewery; Not in the Top 50 last year
  49. Big Sky Brewing; Not in the Top 50 last year
  50. Otter Creek Brewing; Not in the Top 50 last year

The following breweries dropped off the list, meaning they were on the 2005 list but are not on the 2006 list of the Top 50 breweries.

  • City Brewing Co., LaCrosse, Wisconsin; #5 last year, this one is, I think the most surprising one missing this year
  • Steel Brewing Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Makers of high gravity malt liquor, but were purchased by Miller
  • Latrobe Brewing Co., Latrobe, Pennsylvania; closed since July, should be reopening soon
  • Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin; I presume they’re not on the list because their sales were folded into Miller’s, who owns them
  • Lion Brewery, Inc. , Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; I know they’ve stopped doing some contract work, so perhaps that’s why they’re no longer in the top 50
  • Carolina Beer and Beverage Co., Mooresville, North Carolina; Not sure what happened to them, anyone know?
  • Gluek Brewing Co., Cold Springs, Minnesota; Ditto, not sure what happened here either


  1. says

    Carolina Beer and Beverage Co. is still in business. In the past they have had quite a large portfolio of malt beverages that they contract brewed for others. Possibly the calculations included these in the older lists?

    Or more likely, they just didn’t keep up with these other guys and fell off a bit.

  2. MJ says

    Gambrinus numbers would also reflect Trumer Pils that is brewed in Berkeley. Not large numbers, but it is definitely adding to their bottomline. The majority of the Gambrinus numbers are still coming from Shiner – growth coming from all across the country including finally this year moving into the upper MidWest and northeast. Numbers will continue to climb. Trumer distribution also expanding throughout California.

  3. Sam says

    Steel got picked up by Miller in the summer (along with Sparks) from McKenzie River.

    As for City, I’m not 100% sure, but maybe they dropped off because the majority of their volume is contract and that makes things complicated. Does contract volume count for the brewer that brews it or the brewer that “sells” it? I’m assuming they count towards the brewer that “sells” it, otherwise Pabst wouldn’t be on the list because Miller brews the majority of their and Boston Beer would be ranked lower for similar reasons.

  4. Kiernan says

    I’ve learned over the years that the press releases aren’t always accurate. Maybe they didn’t respond to this years survey.
    sometimes when the new brewer comes out in may/june they order will be different

  5. MJ says

    Another brew that I saw missing from the list and they are always missing as they don’t release production numbers, Karl Strauss in San Diego. All bottle beer is produced at Steven’s Point – do the numbers posted for Point include the Strauss bottles? Considering the amount of product that they produce, I would have to imagine that they would rank within the top 40, if not the top 30. Curious how many other small regional brewers out there we are missing from these lists due to their lack of publicizing their volume? Couldn’t be too many, but I would be there are a few.

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