The Brewers Association’s Top 50 of 2011

Earlier this week, the Brewers Association released their annual list of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the United States (based on beer sales volume totals in 2011). According to the website, “Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 36 are small and independent craft brewing companies.”

Bam. Craft brews are creepin.’

In the last 15 years, craft brewing has gone from one percent of the overall beer market to almost six percent in 2011,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “We attribute a large part of that growth to the many talented brewers who are providing beer lovers with more beer style and flavor choices than ever before.

This image, which has absolutely nothing to do with anything I’m talking about in this post, is courtesy of

What is the definition of a ‘craft brewer?’ you might be asking yourself. Although, you’re probably not. But here’s the definition anyway:

An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Small: Annual production of beer less than 6 million barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition. Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer. Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewer’s brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavor.

And now you’ve learned something. You’re welcome, dudes. No need to thank me.

Hit the website to see how your favorite breweries stack up. And a hearty bravo to Wisconsin’s own New Glarus and Steven’s Point Brewing Companies for making the cut!

Damn, son.