Based on production, three San Diego breweries are ranked among the overall largest United States, with Ballast Point Brewing Co. leading the charge.
The Colorado-based Brewers Association (BA) released its annual lists Wednesday of the nation’s top 50 overall brewing companies and top 50 craft breweries for 2016, based on beer sales volume.
On the list of overall brewing companies, Ballast Point Brewing Co. ranked No. 13 in the nation, with Stone Brewing Co. not far behind at No. 17. Green Flash Brewing Co. made the cut, too, coming in at No. 46 – up three spots compared to the prior year.
Compared to last year’s rankings, Ballast Point Brewing Co. has officially surpassed Stone Brewing Co. in production. The BA’s list for overall top brewing companies for 2015 had Ballast Point at No. 17 and Stone Brewing at No. 15.
On the BA’s list of top 50 craft breweries, Stone Brewing Co. took the No. 9 spot and Green Flash Brewing Co. came in at No. 37. Karl Strauss Brewing Co. was No. 41.
The BA notes that of the 50 overall top brewing companies, 40 were craft brewing companies.
According to The Brewer’s Association, an American “craft” brewer is defined as “small, independent and traditional.” That means a company’s an annual production is 6 million barrels of beer or less; less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member that isn’t a craft brewer; the majority of its total beverage alcohol volume is in beers “whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.”
“With such a broad range of brewers in today’s beer landscape, the leading small and independent producers have helped build the craft brewing industry to what it is today,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association, in a press release. “Embracing their experience and ability to thrive and overcome challenges, the top producing craft brewers will continue to inspire, innovate and influence the future of beer.”
Other well-known California companies that made the list of top 50 overall brewing companies in the U.S. include Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (No. 7), of Chico, California, and Lagunitas Brewing Co. (No. 9), of Petaluma, California. To see the full lists, click here.