The Brewers Association has released the top 50 craft breweries of 2014, based on sales volume. To be considered a craft brewery, several criteria must be met: annual production below 6 million barrels, and, until recently, produce beers that are mostly “all malt” beers. In March, 2014, the definition of craft was expanded to include “traditional or innovative brewing ingredients.” This includes corn and rice, which opens the door for Yuengling to be considered craft. America’s oldest brewery, D.G. Yuengling and Son produced around 2.5 million barrels of beer, meeting the second criteria.
Not only is Yuengling considered craft, but it is a force to be reckoned with, dominating the list as number one in its first year of contention. With a distribution limited to less than 20 states and Washington, DC, Yuengling beat out last year’s winner, Boston Beer Company. Sam Adams is available in all 50 states and several other countries, which says a lot about the northeast’s love of Yuengling.
The list also has a companion list to show the top 50 overall brewing companies in the US. Yuengling ranked fourth behind Anheuser-Busch, Miller Coors, and Pabst. Boston Beer Company ranked fifth.
Honorable mentions in the top 10 craft brewing companies are Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Deschutes, Lagunitas, Bell’s, and Stone, who is currently planning its Richmond, VA location.