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Breweries rank among top sellers in US

April 1, 2015
| By Pat Evans |
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Brewery builds out gastropub
Bell’s Brewery was founded in 1985 and is the brewer of several of Michigan’s top-rated beers. Photo via

A pair of craft breweries in the region are among the largest of their kind in the country, based on sales volume.

The nonprofit Brewers Association in Boulder, Colo. released yesterday its annual ranking of the top 50 craft breweries by volume for 2014, and Bell’s Brewery in Galesburg and Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids both rank in the top 20.

The breweries on the ranking are the companies largely responsible for introducing drinkers to craft beers, as the category gains market share in the beer market, said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association.

Earlier this year, it was announced craft beer has more than 10 percent of the beer market.

“The companies on this list include the vanguard of the craft industry,” Watson said. “They are exposing new beer lovers to craft, opening new markets and creating opportunities for the entire category."


Last year, Founders Brewing was outside the top 20 at No. 26, but with the help of recent expansions, it jumped nine spots to No. 17.

In 2013, Founders brewed 193,356 barrels of beer. A barrel is about 31 gallons.

Founders is flanked by Georgia’s SweetWater Brewing Co. at No. 18 and California’s Firestone Walker at No. 16.

A jump to nearly 300,000 barrels is expected by Founders in 2015.

The company is in the midst of a $40-million expansion that will bring its capacity up to 900,000 barrels of beer. However, it will take several years to reach that number.


Bell’s Brewery stayed put at No. 7, but technically moved up a space.

Due to the Brewers Association’s adjustment of the definition of “craft brewery,” Pennslyvania’s D.G. Yuengling and Son took over the top spot, moving every brewery down a peg.

Long-time No. 1 Boston Beer Co., the maker of Samuel Adams, moved to No. 2.

Bell’s jumped Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery to stay at No. 7. Deschutes moved into the Michigan market last fall.

Other breweries

Colorado’s Oskar Blues, which acquired Comstock Park’s Perrin Brewing Co. last week, comes in at No. 23.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing Co. were No. 2 and No. 3 behind Boston Beer Co. for a number of years, but have slipped to No. 3 and No. 4, because of the Yuengling shift.

Alaskan Brewing Co. entered the Michigan market last year and comes in at No. 20 on the list.

Top 15 U.S. craft brewing companies by sales volume

1.   D. G. Yuengling and Son
2.   Boston Beer Co.
3.   Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.   New Belgium Brewing Co.
5.   Gambrinus
6.   Lagunitas Brewing Co.
7.   Bell’s Brewery
8.   Deschutes Brewery
9.   Stone Brewing Co.
10. Minhas Craft Brewery
11. Brooklyn Brewy
12. Duvel Moortgat USA
13. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
14. Matt Brewing Co.
15. Harpoon Brewery

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