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America’s Fastest Growing Breweries by Volume

America's Fastest Growing Breweries
Avg. Reading Time: 3 min

*Apologies to Creature Comforts Brewing and Montauk Brewing as they were accidentally omitted in the initial version of this post, we’ve since updated the list to reflect their spots in the top 30*

This past month, The Brewers Association’s shared a host of statistics in the May/June edition of The New Brewer Magazine breaking down everything from last year’s new brewery openings/brewery closings, to industry annual growth percentage, as well as volume in barrel production along side breweries’ year-over-year growth.

We wanted to take a closer look at some of the country’s fastest growing breweries. In order to identify these booming breweries, we accounted for the largest total increase in barrel production from 2015 to 2016 but also saw an overall production growth of over 10%. For this round up, we focused both on total volume growth, but also only included those that grew by 10% or higher. So while larger regional breweries like New Belgium, which grew by 43,906 barrels but only grew by 5%, and Deschutes, which grew by 28,624 barrels but only grew by 8%, have shown impressive growth, we didnt feel that reflected a significant enough increase to reflect the trend of America’s fastest growing breweries. With that data in mind, we highlight the top five fastest growing breweries in America as well as the full list of 30 high risers.

The Top 5 Fastest Growing Breweries in America

Firestone Wine Enthusiast
Photo Credit: Wine Enthusiast Magazine

1) Firestone Walker – Paso Robles, CA – 361,497 bbl produced in 2016

Firestone Walker lead the charge with an increase of 87,628 barrels bringing their total volume to 361,497 barrels produced in 2016. This seismic growth is reflective of Firestone Walker’s $15 million brewhouse expansion, which added a 250 barrel brewhouse to their existing system at their Paso Robles location. Additionally this growth could also be reflective of Firestone Walker joining the ranks of the Duvel Moorgat family, which includes Boulevard and Brewery Ommegang stateside, a move that allows a greater distribution network, access to resources and access to brewing facilities in regions across the US.

Bells Brewing Taproom
Bell’s Brewing Eccentric Cafe, Kalamazoo | Photo by Tristan Chan

2) Bell’s Brewery – Kalamazoo, MI – 421,529 bbl produced in 2016

Bell’s Brewery which announced their own $50 million expansion project in 2015, saw an increase of 50,889 barrels. That increase brought their total volume up to an even more staggering 421,529 barrels produced in 2016. But Bell’s clearly doesn’t intend to settle into complacency, their newly expanded Comstock location is now capable of maxing out at producing 1 million barrels of beer a year. While still not fully national in distribution fans of Midwest staples like Two Hearted and Oberon can only dream a complete U.S. footprint in the coming years.

Rhinegeist
Rhinegeist taproom | Photo by Tristan Chan

3) Rhinegeist – Cincinnati, OH – 56,502 bbl produced in 2016

America’s third fastest growing brewery by volume may come as a surprise to anyone not residing in the Midwest. Cincinnati-based Rhinegeist is only four years old, but in it’s short lifespan has grown from 2,000 barrels produce in its first year, to 10,520 in its second year, to 31,470 in year three and now 56,502 barrels in 2016. Their newly upgraded 60 barrel system now allows them to reach a max capacity of 100,000 barrels a year with an anticipated growth to about 85-90K bbl this year. Rhinegeist currently distributes throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Western Pennsylvania and will soon add Indiana.

4) New Glarus – New Glarus, WI – 214,005 bbl produced in 2016

It’s hard to call a 24 year old brewery a quick riser, but New Glarus Brewing Company taps in as the fourth fastest growing craft brewery in 2016. What makes their story even more special is the fact that New Glarus’ beers are still sold exclusively in its home state of Wisconsin. The company experienced its first real boom in 2008 with the addition of their Hilltop brewing facility and recently added a $11 million brewery expansion as well, pushing capacity to upward of 250 bbl per year. In 2016 New Glarus grew by 19,111 bbls in production meaning Wisconsinites-state wide can enjoy even greater quantities of Spotted Cow, which accounts for over half of the brewery’s dedicated production, on a consistent basis.

Modern Times Beer Lomaland Fermentorium Taproom
Modern Times Beer Lomaland Fermentorium Taproom | Photo by Tristan Chan

5) Modern Times Beer – San Diego, CA – 40,500 bbl produced in 2016

With over 120 breweries in San Diego alone, one might assume that it could be hard for a singular brewery to standout among the rest. However Modern Times Beer has found a way to rise to the top.  Following a similar growth pattern to Rhinegeist, Modern Times has been primed for the main stage since it opened four years ago. Also producing just 2000 barrels in its first year, Modern Times has rapidly grown year over year adding bigger tanks, more space to their main Lomaland Fermentorium location in Point Loma, expanding to a second North Park location dubbed The Flavordome, and will soon wrap a third location in Anaheim called Leisuretown. While Modern Times currently rings in as third on the fastest growing brewery list, this Anaheim addition is sure to boost their status significantly in the coming years.

For more on the full list of fast risers in the industry check out the top 30 fastest growing breweries in the country.

Brewery 2015 2016 Percent Change Barrelage Growth
Firestone Walker 273,869 361,497 32% 87,628
Bell’s Brewery 370,640 421,529 14% 50,889
Rhinegeist 31,470 56,502 80% 25,032
New Glarus 194,894 214,005 10% 19,111
Modern Times 22,300 40,500 82% 18,200
Jack’s Abby 20,000 34,500 73% 14,500
Surly 62,432 76,550 23% 14,118
Gordon Biersch 82,000 96,000 17% 14,000
Wachusett Brewing 37,716 51,239 36% 13,523
Troegs Brewing 77,235 89,030 15% 11,795
Half Acre 24,711 36,425 47% 11,714
Pizza Port – Bressi Ranch 21,450 32,250 50% 10,800
Deep Ellum 22,639 33,100 46% 10,461
AleSmith 25,000 35,000 40% 10,000
Two Roads 32,100 42,000 31% 9,900
Three Floyds 45,376 55,248 22% 9,872
Green Flash 81,287 91,040 12% 9,753
Creature Comforts 9,952 19,580 97% 9,628
Avery 52,805 62,097 18% 9,292
Allagash Brewing 82,865 91,967 11% 9,102
Montauk Brewing 7,159 16,218 127% 9,059
Revolution 62,997 71,580 14% 8,583
Mother Earth Brewing 22,000 30,000 36% 8,000
Funky Buddha 19,130 26,939 41% 7,809
Bear Republic 74,600 81,800 10% 7,200
Maui Brewing 32,400 39,550 22% 7,150
Fremont 24,200 30,400 26% 6,200
Crazy Mountain 20,000 25,000 25% 5,000
Highland Brewing 41,910 46,478 11% 4,568
Perrin Brewing 18,000 22,500 25% 4,500

 


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Comments

  1. Matthew Diment

    What is your criteria for inclusion in the list. I looked at only one brewery, Deschutes in Bend , OR. They grew 28,624 barrels of production from 2015 to 2016 putting them fourth on your list. I suspect I could find others as well.

    • Matthew thanks for that catch. I forgot to include the disclaimer that this list also focuses on breweries that saw a 10% or greater growth in volume. I know that cutoff was a bit arbitrarily determined however for breweries like New Belgium and Deschutes, and nothing against the bigger breweries, a 10K production growth is just a drop in the hat.

  2. Darin McGregor

    Epic Brewing grew 23.5% from 18,281 barrels to 22,462 barrels.

  3. Sam

    Can’t wait to see MadTree near(/at) the top of this list in 2018 😉

  4. Ben Roesch

    I know there are a ton of data points to comb through. But how about some love for Wormtown?
    2016 up 103% +7489 bbls
    7274 bbls in 2015. 14,763 in 2016

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