These Are the 50 U.S. Craft Brewers That Sold the Most Beer in 2020
The Brewers Association report is out with the new numbers.
Every year, the Brewers Association (BA), a not-for-profit trade association for small and independent breweries, puts out a report about the craft breweries that produced the most beer over the last year.
It's a fascinating look at the breweries that are the most in-demand. The report also comes with a ranking that includes non-craft breweries to contextualize where craft brewers sit compared to industry giants like Anheuser Busch In-Bev. The list of craft brewers ranges from big breweries like Boston Beer (makers of Sam Adams and Truly hard seltzer) and Yuengling to familiar craft beer stalwarts like Bells Brewery and some that only distribute in a small portion of the country, like Wisconsin's New Glarus.
It's an interesting look at the world of craft beer every year, but the specter of the pandemic looms over the BA's annual reports this year. "The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed where Americans purchased alcohol in 2020. Breweries who had established packaging and distribution capacity were best positioned to take advantage of the boom in off-premise sales and weather market uncertainty," Bart Warson, Chief Economist at the Brewers Association, said in a statement. "These businesses also saw variation in performance based on geography and business model, with different parts of the country seeing very different beer trends, and draught-heavy breweries suffering."
Overall, the BA reports that craft brewers produced fewer barrels of beer last year after many years of year-over-year increases. The total production in 2020 was 23.1 million barrels, down from 26.3 million barrels in 2019. That represents 12.3% of the beer market, which was also down in 2020. Craft beer took 13.6% of the share in 2019 and 13% in 2018. The BA says this is the "first production decline in the modern craft era." That gives a sense of how hard breweries were hit in the pandemic.
The total number of craft breweries in the US increased, again, from 8,391 in 2019 to 8,764 in 2020. That's fewer openings than in past years, but still an overall increase. If you expected to see a decrease there, it's worth noting that you can't open a brewery overnight. Many breweries that opened in 2020 were planned prior to the start of the pandemic.
Here's a look at the US craft breweries based on volume brewed in 2020.