Food Service & Agriculture and Retail

Brewery rises on ranking of largest US craft breweries

April 1, 2014
| By Pat Evans |
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Founders Brewing hits production bottleneck
Founders Brewing Co.’s bottling line at work. Photo via fb.com

Two breweries in the region remain the state’s lone representatives on the Brewers Association’s ranking of the largest craft breweries in the nation — based on sales volume.

The national association released yesterday its 2013 rankings of the “Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies” and the “Top 50 Overall U.S. Brewing Companies.”

Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids ranks No. 26 among craft breweries, while Bell’s Brewery in Galesburg ranks No. 7.

Founders moved up four spots since 2012, and Bell’s held its position at No. 7.

The top five craft brewing companies are Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams), Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing Co., Gambrinus and Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Both Michigan breweries also place in the ranking of all breweries, with Bell’s Brewery coming in at No. 13 and Founders Brewing at No. 35.

The top five overall brewing companies are Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Pabst Brewing Co., D.G. Yuengling and Son and Boston Beer Co.

Expanding distribution

Founders Brewing and Bell’s Brewery have both announced their intentions to distribute farther west in 2014.

Bell’s, already in Arizona, plans to enter the Southern California market in May.

Founders said yesterday that it will begin shipments to Arizona on April 21. It is the fifth state the Grand Rapids brewery will enter this year, joining Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee.

Arizona is the 32nd state market for Founders, which also ships some brews internationally.

“Arizona is our first truly western state of distribution,” said Mike Stevens, Founders co-founder and CEO. “There are a lot of Michigan natives in Arizona, and it’s a state with a developing craft beer scene, so it made sense for us to open it this spring.”

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