Today, the Brewers Association (BA) — the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers — released its second annual list of the 50 fastest growing small and independent1 craft brewing companies of 2018.
Rancho Bernardo’s Abnormal Beer Co. came in at number 21. “We grew nearly 300% last year, from 1000 barrels to 2770 barrels,” according to head brewer Nyle Molina.
“We are very excited about this,” he continued, “and actually we are having our fourth anniversary party this weekend, on Saturday, March 30, starting at 11 a.m. for the VIP hour. We will be featuring an Anniversary Brut IPA that was a collab with Pizza Port Bressi Ranch, a new Hazy IIPA that was a collab with New Glory Craft Brewery (called New Haze of Glory), and a new chocolate peanut butter cup porter. We will also have some other fan favorites, and will be previewing barrel-aged Maple Mornings for our next bottle release. Also, we’ll have a great list of guest beers.”
The Brewers Association’s press release included further details: “Representing 27 states across the U.S., these small and independent breweries experienced a median growth of 163 percent with the median size being 1,350 barrels of in-house production in 2018. Breweries on the list range from 50 barrels to more than 40,000, and grew from less than 70,000 barrels collectively in 2017 to more than 170,000 barrels in 2018. As a group, these brewing companies represent approximately 10 percent of total craft growth by volume for the year, and include 13 brewpubs, 35 microbreweries, and two regional craft breweries.”
“Even as market competition continues to increase, these small and independent breweries and brewpubs demonstrate there are still growth opportunities across a diverse set of regions and business models,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association.
Last year, Novo Brazil and Bay City made the inaugural “fastest growing” list, in eighth and twenty-eighth places, respectively.
Methodology: The list presented includes only small and independent breweries. Growth is measured based on production at their own facilities. Breweries must have opened by December 31, 2016 or earlier to be considered. It only includes breweries that reported 2018 production to the Brewers Association’s annual Beer Industry Production Survey; breweries with staff estimates or data from state excise tax reports were not considered. Breweries also needed a validated production figure for 2017, either via the production survey, or state excise tax data.
A comprehensive State of the Industry report will be delivered during the 2019 Craft Brewers Conference® & BrewExpo America®, held from April 8-11 in Denver, Colorado. The association’s full 2018 industry analysis, which shows regional trends and sales by individual breweries, will be published in the May/June issue of The New Brewer, available in May 2019.
1 An American craft brewer is a small and independent brewer. Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer. Brewer: Has a TTB Brewer’s Notice and makes beer.