10 biggest craft breweries in California

The craft brewing trade organization Brewers Association has released its list of the nation’s 50 biggest craft breweries for 2021 — which include 10 in California.

Ranked by beer sales volume are the following breweries considered both small (annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less) and independent (less than 25% owned by an alcoholic beverage company that is not itself a craft brewer).

Click here for beer writer Jay R. Brooks’ analysis of the new numbers and what they say about the state of California brewing.

The top 10:

  1. Sierra Nevada, #3 in US
  2. Duvel Moortgat (Firestone Walker), #4 in US Includes Boulevard in Kansas City and Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY
  3. Gambrinus (Trumer), #5 in US Includes Shiner in Texas.
  4. Stone, #9 in US
  5. Gordon Biersch, #15 in US
  6. Kings & Convicts (Ballast Point), #34 in US Includes the parent company in Illinois.
  7. Lost Coast, #37 in US
  8. 21st Amendment, #42 in US
  9. Modern Times, #48 in US
  10. North Coast, #50 in US

Because of the association’s criteria, some notable names in Bay Area brewing aren’t on the craft beer list: Lagunitas (owned by Heineken), Anchor (Sapporo) and Magnolia (New Belgium/Kirin). Green Flash and Alpine, originally from San Diego County, are no longer considered Californian by group, being included under Atlanta-based SweetWater.

The biggest California-based brewery of any type is Los Angeles-based Pabst, whose brands also include Schlitz, Rainier, Lone Star and Pearl.

The nation’s biggest craft breweries last year were Yuengling, in Pottsville, Pa., and Boston Beer Co., which includes Sam Adams and Dogfish Head.

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