With figures based on sales volume for 2020, the top five brewers operating in the US are Anheuser-Busch, MolsonCoors, Constellation Brands, Heineken USA and Pabst Brewing Co.
The top five craft brewers are D.G. Yuengling & Son; Boston Beer Co; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co; Duvel Moortgat; and Gambrinus: with the top three rankings remaining unchanged from 2019. Meanwhile, craft brewing companies make up 40 of the top 50 overall brewing companies.
In order to be counted as a craft brewer, a brewery must be ‘small and independent’ (annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less; with less than 25% of the brewery owned or controlled by a beer-producing alcohol beverage industry member).
The pandemic has shaped the fortunes of US craft breweries over the past year: with those best able to adapt to off-premise sales able to maintain sales better than many which relied on taproom or on-trade sales.
“The COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed where Americans purchased alcohol in 2020. Breweries who had established packaging and distribution capacity were best positioned to take advantage of the boom in off-premise sales and weather market uncertainty,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association.
“These businesses also saw variation in performance based on geography and business model, with different parts of the country seeing very different beer trends, and draught-heavy breweries suffering.”