Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some New Brewers Association Numbers

Some statistics from the Brewers Association, via Jay Brooks and the Brookston Beer Bulletin:

First, the Top 50 US Breweries, by production:
        Top 10: Anheuser-Busch In-Bev, MillerCoors, Pabst, Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co), Yuengling, Sierra Nevada, Craft Brewers Alliance (Red Hook/Widmer/Kona/Goose Island), New Belgium, High Falls (Genesee), Shiner (Spoetzl).
        Wisconsin Breweries in the Top 50:
          14) Minhas
          32) New Glarus

Second, the Top 50 US Craft Breweries (according to the Brewers' Association definition of "craft brewery"):
        Top 10 Craft: Sam Adams (Boston Beer Co), Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Shiner (Spoetzl), Pyramid, Deschutes, Saranac (Matt Brewing), Boulevard, Full Sail, Magic Hat.
        Wisconsin Craft Breweries in the Top 50:
          21) New Glarus
*** Note: Minhas does not meet the Brewers' Association's definition of "craft" brewery.
The definition of a craft brewer as stated by the Brewers Association: An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional. Small: Annual production of beer less than 2 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.
I don't know if Mr. Minhas' ownership disqualifies the brewery (I don't think it does), or the lack of an all-malt flagship (their beer is pretty heavy on adjuncts like corn and/or rice)

Third, breweries per capita (warning: PDF). The top 10: Vermont, Montana, Oregon, Maine, Colorado, Alaska, Wyoming, Washington, Delaware, Wisconsin. So, Wisconsin sneaks into the top 10. Only 5 of the top 15 have more than 31 breweries; so, as you've guessed, the other 10 snuck in because no one lives there. The Top 5 with more than 31 breweries: Oregon (93), Colorado (103), Washington (100), Wisconsin (66), Michigan (70). As you can see, we still have quite a ways to go; Wisconsin has around 800K more people than Colorado but 39 fewer breweries.


  1. Where's Stevens Point? Is it combined with someone?

  2. From the info I have, Stevens Point appears to be about half the size of New Glarus, so not in the Top 50 in the US. I'd be curious as to whether Point falls under the Brewer's Association definition of "craft" though (is their flagship "all-malt" or does it have significant corn/rice/other adjunct in the grain bill??)

  3. Is leinenkugel just considered part of Miller? Doesn't AB-Inbev own the craft brewers alliance breweries? Is there a significant difference between the two situations? Interesting numbers; New Glarus keeps getting bigger without leaving the state!

  4. I think it comes down to ownership form. I think Leinie's is a wholly owned subsidiary of MillerCoors. Whereas, I think AB is just has an ownership interest in the Craft Brewer's Alliance. It basically comes down to ownership percentages and exercise of control.

    So, I think the short answer is: yes - there are significant legal (and operational) distinctions between the two. Think of it this way: if MillerCoors tells Leinie's to jump, Leinie's response is "how high?" If AB tells the CBA to jump, the CBA can choose not to jump.

    Even if AB is an equal partner with Widmer and Redhook in the CBA (which I don't think they are) that would still require 2 of the 3 for a majority decision. In the Leinie's situation, Miller is king; and while Miller CHOOSES to allow Leinie's to operate (somewhat) independently, they could step in at any time and Leinie's couldn't really do much about it.


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