Monday, October 12, 2009

Whose beer you drinking?

Over at Drink American, in honor of the 4th of July, David the Patriot goes through a fairly comprehensive list of the beers owned by the largest multinational brewing conglomerations in the world: 1) InBev and Anheuser-Busch, now merged as Anheuser-Busch InBev, of Belgian/Brazilian ownership, 2) SABMiller, of South African ownership, 3) Heineken, Dutch-owned, and 4) Molson Coors.

An interesting twist to the InBev/A-B merger is that the Pabst Brewing Company (PBR, Schlitz, Stroh, Schaefer, etc.) now claims to the last major, fully American owned Brewery in the operating in the US...except they own NO ACTUAL BREWERIES. All of their beers are contract brewed by companies distributed by SABMiller. Sorry, Pabst. No one can ever take away that blue ribbon.

Which leads to the actual list of the top six American craft and microbreweries according to the Brewers Association of Boulder, CO:

1. The Boston Beer Company in Boston, MA [aka Sam Adams]

2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, CA

3. New Belgium in Fort Collins, Colorado [highlighted by the deacon a couple weeks ago]

4. The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX [aka Shiner]

5. Pyramid Breweries of Seattle, WA

6. Matt Brewing in Utica, New York [aka Saranac]

American's regional differences fascinate me, moreso when it comes to beer. Everyone knows Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada, and to my tastebuds Saranac is one of the underrated craft breweries. Of course, I worship pomegranate. But I'm surprised not to see more NYC-common brands like Dogfishhead, Stone, Rogue, Magic Hat or Yuengling. I've never heard of Pyramid, and New Belgium has hardly any presence in NYC (and according to DA, is only distributed in 18 states). Hellfire. Of course, I guess that's your macro[brew]economics catch-22: get popular enough to distribute outside your regional base and one of the brewing giants snap you up.

Only one solution: more fieldtrips? I could use a good brewgramage.


  1. The Brewers Assocation full top 50 craft brewery list (using 2008 numbers) is up here:

    Magic Hat's #10, Harpoon #12, Anchor #16, Stone #18, Brooklyn #20, and DogfishHead #22. Rogue is only #25, which is really surprising to me, and Otter Creek is all the way down at #42 (below the overrated Long Trail, at #23).

  2. Otter Creek is far down the list for lack of Marketing Capital and their struggle to incorporate the Wolaver's brand. Wait until they go mainstream with the Wolaver's Label. It's the Whole Foods of Beer: Big Business packaged for the modern anti-corporate consumer who is over educated and has a ton of extra cash.