Last week, the Brewers Association released their list of the Top 50 US breweries in 2011. It is not a “best of” ranking, but is based on 2011 beer sales volume, and therefore breaks down which brewing companies made and sold the most beer in 2011.
View Top 50 US Craft Brewing Companies in a larger map
It’s not a perfect map. Ideally, it’d be cool to have the size of the dot correspond to the amount of barrels produced, or be able to show how many barrels are shipped out of state. New Glarus, for example, is #19 on the list, and only distributes in Wisconsin; compare that to Oregon’s Rogue (#25) which is sold in all 50 states and 21 countries, and you get an idea of how much local beer they’re drinking in Wisconsin.
Also incredible is the leaps some breweries made from 2010 to 2011. Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Oregon jumped 18 spots, from #50 to #32. Lagunitas, based in Petaluma, California, moved up eight spots, from #17 to #9, surpassing Stone Brewing and Dogfish Head.
It’s worth looking at the craft beer industry geographically–seeing where the most beer is getting made, and where it’s getting shipped to, especially as breweries start expanding and opening new locations across the country. (Like Sierra Nevada and New Belgium in Asheville, Lagunitas in Chicago.) It’d also be neat to break down the volume by city. Noticeably absent from this list is any Southeastern breweries, despite Asheville’s “Beer City USA” moniker. There’s no doubt that they’re producing and selling a huge amount of beer down there, but at smaller or mid-size breweries.
Bottom line: there’s a lot of potential fun to be had with craft beer, data, and mapping, and when the Brewers Association releases The New Brewer magazine with even more statistics next month, there will be more data to play around with. For now, I’m just dreaming of a 50-stop craft beer road trip …