Final Numbers Are In - Craft Down
For the second consecutive year, production at half of the craft beer industry’s top 50 companies
didn’t grow, according to new data released by the Brewers Association.The organization, noted
that 24 of the top 50 BA-defined regional craft brewing companies — those producing between
15,000 and six million barrels of beer annually — either declined or remained flat in 2017.
Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing and Massachusetts-headquartered Boston Beer Company
experienced the most notable declines last year. Long Trail production fell a staggering 24 %
, to 100,000 barrels, while Boston Beer Company saw its beer production dip 14 percent, to two
million barrels, Meanwhile, Louisiana’s Abita Brewing, Minnesota’s August Schell Brewing and
California’s Green Flash Brewing each declined 10 %.
Other noteworthy companies that experienced declines last year included Sierra Nevada (down
8 percent), Deschutes Brewery (down 9 %), Ninkasi Brewing (down 8 %), Rogue Ales & Spirits
(down 7 %) and Full Sail Brewing (down 9 %).Nevertheless, about two dozen of the country’s
largest craft beer companies managed to grow, despite facing a variety of challenges,
including access to market and increased competition from large and small breweries.
Among top 50 producers, Cincinnati’s Rhinegeist Brewing posted the most robust growth up 53
percent, to 86,242 barrels. Massachusetts’ Wachusett Brewing, grew 26 percent last year.
Other double-digit growers included Three Floyds Brewing (up 23 percent), Surly Brewing (up 19
percent), Saint Arnold Brewing (up 19 percent), Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (up 18 percent),
Stone Brewing (up 15 percent), Troegs Brewing (up 14 percent), Revolution Brewing (up 14
percent) and Bell’s Brewery (up 10 percent).
Florida’s Cigar City Brewing, which is part of Canarchy Craft Brewery Collective — the Fireman
Capital Partners-backed consortium of beer companies, including Oskar Blues, Perrin Brewing and
Utah Brewers Cooperative – also grew 41 percent, to more than 92,000 barrels. On its own, Cigar
City is ranked as the 39th largest craft brewing company in the U.S.
The BA also counted production from those craft beer companies owned by larger entities,
including Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and Constellation Brands.According to the trade group, the
only A-B-owned craft brewery to decline in 2017 was Goose Island. Sales for that brand dipped 1
%. A-B’s fastest growing craft brand, according to BA estimates, was Elysian Brewing, which saw
production increase 111%. Wicked Weed Brewing also grew 82 % in 2017.
All of MillerCoors’ recently acquired craft brands – Saint Archer, Hop Valley, Revolver Brewing
nd Terrapin – posted positive figures in 2017. Saint Archer grew 62 %, while Revolver grew 53 %
Terrapin and Hop Valley grew 34 % and 20 %, respectively. Production at San Diego’s Ballast
Point which was purchased by Constellation Brands for $1 billion in 2015, declined 13 %.
In total, production of large, non-BA-defined craft brands – including those owned by North
American Breweries (Magic Hat, Pyramid), Heineken (Lagunitas), Mahou San Miguel (Founders
Brewing), Sapporo (Anchors Brewing, Sapporo USA), Craft Brew Alliance (Kona, Redhook, Widmer
Brothers, Omission) and United Breweries (Olde Saratoga, Mendocino Brewing) – grew 4% The
entire craft beer category, as defined by the BA, grew 5 percent, to 25.3 million barrels in 2017.
the crossroads of the beer world
|Plastic In Your Beer
Great Lakes water that's used for making beer
contains tiny plastic particles in a widespread
problem, a new study has found. The brewers,
though not named, included, three that drew
water from Lake Superior, four from Lake
Michigan, one from Lake Huron, two from Lake
Erie, and two from Lake Ontario. Seven brands
of beer were purchased from Minneapolis,
Minnesota liquor stores, two were purchased
directly from breweries in Duluth, Minnesota, and
the remaining three were purchased in Alpena,
Michigan and Rochester, New York.
The minuscule pieces of plastic were also found
in eight of the nine tap water samples.Most of the
microplastics they found in the water and beer
were 5 millimeters in length or shorter,
A German beer study performed last year, found
plastic particles in all 24 brands of beer analyzed.
Since plastics are used for virtually everything in
our lives, tracing the origins of these small pieces
is difficult – some could have come from the
Great Lakes, while others might have entered
the beers during the brewing process.or have
entered the beers during the brewing process.
The particles although highly undesirable do
not currently pose a health risk.
Stale Bread Beer
All efforts to reduce food waste are beneficial in
their own right, but some are definitely more fun
than others… like turning food waste into beer.
A number of brands and brewers have found
ways to re-purpose leftovers that would have
ended up in a landfill into something you can use
to liven up your weekend. And now, one of the
U.K.’s best-known retailers is getting in on the
trend: Marks & Spencer (a bit like a Macy’s with
food or a slightly more upmarket Target) has
teamed up with the British brewery Adnams to
create a line of beer made from the discarded
bread crusts from the retailer’s sandwiches.
The Adnams Used Our Loaf line of beers made
with Marks & Spencer’s bread waste is being
sold, fittingly, exclusively at Marks & Spencer in
three varieties: Triple English Hop Southwold
Pale Ale, Early Grey Pale Ale, and Raspberry
Fruit Beer. According to the brewery, the first
batch used over three-quarters of a ton of
surplus bread that was then mixed with three
times as much barley, meaning that each beer is
about a quarter salvaged bread waste.
The companies say that all the spent grains
leftover after the brewing process are then sent
to farms to be used as animal feed.