Top 10 biggest US craft brewers of 2017

US trade body the Brewers Association (BA) has released its annual list of the country’s biggest brewers based on sales volumes, while also revealing the biggest “craft” brewers.

“Craft” beer breweries account for 98% of all breweries in the US

Every year the BA details not only the biggest craft brewers overall, including the likes of Ab InBev, Constellation and MillersCoors, but the largest “craft beer” brands (definition below).

Interestingly, of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 40 were small and independent craft brewing companies, highlighting the decreasing gap between craft and big beer. By the end of 2017, the BA said there were over 6,000 breweries now operational in the US, 98% of which are “small and independent craft brewers”.

Looking back on 2017, the BA described it as a “watershed year for craft beer”, with sales of craft beer in the US slowing throughout the year, with the sector experiencing continued but much steadier growth year-on-year.

“Craft brewers continue to thrive, if at a slower pace, fuelled by a passionate community dedicated to bringing innovation, jobs and beer across America – on Main Street and beyond,” said Bart Wilson, chief economist at the Brewers Association.

“Today, 83% of the population lives within 10 miles of a local brewery, meaning that the positive impact of breweries is being felt in communities all over the country”.

2017 also saw progression of The Craft Beverage Modernisation and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA). If the bill is passed it will reduce the federal excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels of beer produced by a US brewery, providing that it produces fewer than 2 million barrels a year.

DEFINITION OF CRAFT

The BA’s definition of craft covers those brewers deemed to be “small, independent and traditional”.

Small means that the brewer has an annual production of six million barrels of beer or less, “flavoured malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition”.The association describes an American craft brewer as “small, independent and traditional”.

Independent means that “less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer”.

Traditional relates to “a brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers 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 flavour.”

“In an increasingly competitive and mature marketplace, these brewing companies continue to lead and pave the path for small and independent craft brewers,” said Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association.

Click through for a run down of the top 10 US craft brewers by 2017 sales volumes…

NB: Specific sales data has not been disclosed by the BA. Companies are ranked in order of volume produced or sold in the US (including imports).

 

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