annual list of the Top 50 Breweries of 2012. The list is based solely on the production statistics, i.e. who produces the most beer.
The full list is broken into two categories; the list of Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies and the list of the Top 50 Overall U.S. Brewing Companies. F.X. Matt Brewing, Brooklyn Brewery, Blue Point Brewing Company, and Southern Tier Brewing Company were the four representatives from New York State on both lists. North American Breweries made an appearance on the overall list but was excluded from the craft brewing list. Below are our thoughts on each list.
Craft Brewing Companies List
F.X. Matt Brewing was the highest at #8 followed by Brooklyn Brewery at #11, Blue Point Brewing Company at #36, and Southern Tier Brewing Company at #37.
*F.X. Matt is not only the oldest brewery in NY but also the biggest. In addition to their wildly popular Saranac line, they also produce the historic Utica Club line as well as contract brew for Flying Bison (Buffalo). Saranac has become almost as easy to find across the country as Sam Adams or Sierra Nevada.
*Brooklyn Brewery's new expansion has allowed them to climb the ladder. In addition to producing award winning beers, head brewer Garret Oliver has become the country's foremost expert on craft beer. Brooklyn brews great beer and has a great distribution network set up, but you would have to imagine that Oliver helps as well.
*Southern Tier has also been continuously expanding their brewing capacity. Everyone has always enjoyed their 22 ounce bottle line, but they have made a move in recent years to put great beers in 12 ounce bottles. It is rare that I have a bad beer from Southern Tier so it makes sense that the rest of the country feels the same way. I have a feeling they will continue to climb this list each year.
The addition of the big boys bumped each of the four New York craft breweries down but also brought about the inclusion of a fifth NY member. North American Breweries was listed at #6,
Matt Brewing Company is next at #15, followed by Brooklyn Brewery at #18, Blue Point Brewing Company at #47, and Southern Tier Brewing Company at #48.
*North American Breweries is the parent company the brews for several beer brands/lines. This list included the production numbers for the Dundee, Genesee, Labatt Lime, Magic
Hat and Pyramid brands. The whole portfolio and infrastructure has been sold multiple times over the last few years and is currently up for sale again. None of the other big brewers are allowed to purchase it because of anti-trust laws, but current owner KPS Capital seems to have reached a $388 million deal with Cerveceria Costa Rica.
*It really does not matter to me who owns the Dundee and Genesee lines as long as the owner gives them the time, money and respect they deserve. KPS did a flat out wonderful job with the Genesee brand. They revived the historic sign, built a museum and brewpub and made numerous other countless moves to help revive the brand. Let's hope that Cerveceria continues the momentum that KPS built.
*Blue Point has always been one of the biggest craft brewers in New York but I was surprised to see it on the Top 50 overall list. Their beer is everywhere in New York but it just did not seem to be as widely as distributed as other breweries on the same list. You learn something new everyday. Congrats to Blue Point as well as the other breweries representing New York on the lists.