10 Largest Craft Breweries in the United States

In recent years, craft breweries have had a massive surge in popularity across the United States. In order to be considered a craft brewery, a facility must produce six million barrels of beer or less on a yearly basis. Although craft breweries must adhere to a strict production limit, as you’ll soon see, some of them can still grow quite large!

Today we’ll be looking at 10 of the largest craft breweries in the United States according to their annual sales, measured in US beer barrels. Read on to learn a few fun facts about the largest “small, independent and traditional” breweries in the nation!

  1. Boulevard Brewing Company (Duvel Moortgat)

Sales Volume: 219,094 US beer barrels
Location: Paso Robles, California / Kansas City, Missouri / Cooperstown, New York
Year Established: 1989
Founder: John McDonald

Boulevard Brewing Company
Source: wikimedia.org

Boulevard Brewing Company was established in 1989 after founder John McDonald fell in love with the inspiring flavors of Belgian Beer. It became the largest independent brewery in the United States for a time, until it was surpassed by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2008. Boulevard Brewing Company was acquired by the famous Flemish Duvel Moortgat Brewery in 2013, and has become its primary source of American-brewed craft beers.

Did You Know?

The Boulevard Brewing Company offers visitors the “Boulevard Experience,” which provides a fun, hands-on walkthrough of Kansas City’s brewing history.

  1. Gambrinus (Spoetzl Brewery)

Sales Volume: 300,000 US beer barrels
Location: Shiner, Texas / Berkeley, California / Portland, Oregon
Year Established: 1909
Founder: Kosmos Spoetzl

Source: wikimedia.org

This privately-held craft brewery owns the Spoetzl Brewery and the Trumer Brewery, and is the oldest independent brewery in Texas. The Spoetzl Brewery is perhaps best known for its Shiner Bock, which is highly popular and sold in every state except for Hawaii.

Did You Know?

The Spoetzl Brewery was originally known as “The Shiner Brewing Association,” and was formed by Czech and German immigrants who wanted to be able to enjoy a brew more like what they were used to from their homelands.

  1. Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

Sales Volume: 310,000 US beer barrels
Location: Kalamazoo and Comstock, Michigan
Year Established: 1985
Founder: Larry Bell

Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Source: wikimedia.org

The largest microbrewery in Michigan, Bell’s Brewery originally began with Larry Bell’s homebrew supply store and his first batches of commercial beer–which he brewed in a 15-gallon soup pot. Bell’s first wholesaler was based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and his products quickly became popular. Bell’s Brewery opened a brewpub called “Bell’s Eccentric Cafe” adjacent to its brewery located on Kalamazoo Avenue.

Did You Know?

The company opened a general store that sells homebrew supplies, branded merchandise, and Bell’s beer in a nod to the brewery’s humble, homebrew origins.

  1. Deschutes Brewery

Sales Volume: 315,000 US beer barrels
Location: Bend, Oregon
Year Established: 1988
Founder: Gary Fish

Deschutes Brewery
Source: wikimedia.org

Originally founded as a brewpub, Deschutes Brewery now ships its beer to 28 states and numerous other countries around the world. On top of manufacturing their signature craft beer, Deschutes also strives to give back to the community by setting aside one dollar to donate for each barrel of beer that they sell.

Did You Know?

Deschutes Brewery is using an innovative, new prediction model that tells its brewers when the fermentation process is done and makes the whole brewing process more efficient.

  1. Stone Brewing Co.

Sales Volume: 325,645 US beer barrels
Location: Escondido, California
Year Established: 1996
Founder: Greg Koch and Steve Wagner

Stone Brewing Co.
Source: wikimedia.org

This no-nonsense craft brewery has made a name for itself with a strong focus on flavorful, hoppy beers and ambitious global expansion. The Stone Brewing Company opened three different establishments in three countries in as many months: Stone Brewing Tap Room – Shanghai, Stone Brewing – Napa, and Stone Brewing Tap Room – Prenzlauer Berg.

Did You Know?

In February of 2018, Stone Brewing filed a lawsuit against MillerCoors for their admittedly bold attempt at rebranding Keystone Light, which featured the name “Stone” in unmissable letters across the side of the can.

  1. CANarchy

Sales Volume: 421,222 US beer barrels
Location: Longmont, Colorado / Tampa, Florida / Dallas, Texas
Year Established: 2015
Founder: Matt Fraser

Source: wikimedia.org

CANarchy is a craft brewery collective comprised of multiple independent brewers who pride themselves on innovation and refreshing beer flavors. The CANarchy collective was voted “Craft Brewery of the Year” in 2018 by Brewbound, and remains popular in all 50 states and multiple other countries.

Did You Know?

One of the breweries contained in the CANarchy collective, Oskar Blues, was the first to begin selling their pale ale in a can.

  1. New Belgium Brewing Company

Sales Volume: 844,937 US beer barrels
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado / San Francisco, California
Year Established: 1991
Founder: Kim Jordan and Jeff Lebesch

New Belgium Brewing Company
Source: wikimedia.org

The ideas for New Belgium Brewery began with Jeff Lebesch riding his bicycle through Belgium and stopping at each brewery. He gathered inspiration along his journey that would help him develop the American craft brewery with a unique set of values such as fun and sustainability. This 100% employee-owned company features bicycles in its logo as a symbol of sustainability and Belgian culture.

Did You Know?

During their earliest days together as brewers, Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan brewed beer in their basement before moving their process to a renovated freight warehouse a year later.

  1. Boston Beer Company

Sales Volume: 1,200,000 US beer barrels
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Year Established: 1984
Founder: Jim Koch, Lorenzo Lamadrid,‎ Harry Rubin, and Rhonda Kallman

Boston Beer Company
Source: wikimedia.org

The Boston Beer Company named its first beer brand after Founding Father Samuel Adams, and later went on to expand its reputation with other products such as the Angry Orchard line of hard ciders. With a focus on providing its customers with groundbreaking new flavors and beer options, the Boston Beer Company pioneered the process of aging beer in flavor-infused spirit barrels.

Did You Know?

Jim Koch found the original family recipe for the now-famous Samuel Adams Boston Lager in his father’s attic.

  1. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Sales Volume: 1,250,000 US beer barrels
Location: Chico, California
Year Established: 1980
Founder: Ken Grossman

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Source: wikimedia.org

Ken Grossman opened and ran a Home Brew Supply Shop beginning in 1976, steadily building up his knowledge and skill set as diligently as he could until he opened his first brewery in 1980. He originally built his brewery from the ground up with a lot of repurposed components, including steel tanks from dairy farms.

Did You Know?

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company joined forces with Stone Brewing Company in order to create a unique, flavorful, barrel-aged IPA in an inspiring gesture of collaboration and competitive goodwill.

  1. D. G. Yuengling & Son

Sales Volume: 1,400,000 US beer barrels
Location: Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Year Established: 1829
Founder: David Yuengling

D. G. Yuengling & Son
Source: wikimedia.org

G. Yuengling & Son is the largest craft brewery in the United States by sales volume. On top of that, it’s also the oldest brewing company in America that’s still up and running today. It was first founded as the Eagle Brewery by German immigrant David Yuengling, who later welcomed his son Frederick as a business partner and changed the company name in recognition.

Did You Know?

Beginning in 2018, D. G. Yuengling & Son began offering the first year-round beer in 17 years: an all-malt brew called Yuengling Golden Pilsner.

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