America’s top 50 craft breweries for 2014 have been revealed and the results are fascinating. Explore our map of all the ranking breweries (including 2013 ranks for comparison) — and then read our favorite facts and findings below. The Brewers Association, who collect this data every year, offered us some insights into the big changes to this year’s list, starting with this year’s new top ranking brewer, Yuengling!
Interesting Facts About America’s Top 50 Craft Breweries
- The biggest upset is a new arrival, D. G. Yuengling and Son, which knocks Boston Beer Co (Sam Adams) out of first place. Until this year Yuengling and a number of other ranking breweries didn’t qualify, due to their use of adjunct ingredients such as rice and corn, which can be used to lighten the flavor of a beer. Paul Gatza, the Brewers Association Director, provided insight into the change: “The revisions to the craft brewer definition reflect the evolution in thinking regarding the elements of the definition. As the industry continues to rapidly advance, so must the framework that upholds and reflects it.”
- California is the clear king of the rankings, holding down 11 spots. Colorado places second with 6 craft breweries (Craftworks is listed in both Colorado and Tennessee). Third place is a tie. Oregon has 4 breweries as does New York. Duvel Moortgat USA has long called Cooperstown home at Ommegang.
- 23 states are represented in the top 50. Missouri does not appear on the map but Duvel Moortgat USA (Ommegang) purchased Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, MO in early 2014.
- San Diego has 4 of the top 50, counting Stone, which is located in Escondido, a city in San Diego County.
- We were wondering why Founders Brewing qualified, as they sold a 30% stake to Mahou-San Miguel Group of Spain in December 2014. To qualify as a craft brewery, the largest size that stake could be is 25%. Bart Watson, Chief Economist at the Brewers Association explained their inclusion to us: “The 2014 list reflects the 2014 year. Given the timing of the deal, Founders was a craft brewer in 2014 (note that the deal was announced in December but didn’t close until January 2015). We will re-evaluate the list for 2015 rankings in early 2016.”