Who's the country's biggest brewer?

A Pennsylvania company has surpassed Boston Beer to become No. 1, though it still has only 1.2% of the US market.

By Kim Peterson Jan 16, 2012 1:06PM
Image: Beer (© Corbis)A new beer maker has surged ahead to become the largest in America -- and it probably isn't the one you think.

Anheuser-Busch, the maker of the No. 1 beer Bud Light? Nope. That's a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD), which is based in Belgium.

How about MillerCoors, which makes No. 2 beer Coors Light? Nope. MillerCoors is a joint venture of London's SABMiller (SBMRY) and Molson Coors (TAP), which operates out of Montreal and Denver.

The biggest U.S. brewer is now D.G. Yuengling and Son, based in Pottsville, Pa., the Allentown Morning Call reports. Yuengling saw shipments soar 16.9% last year to 2.5 million barrels. As a result, it barely squeaked into first place, surpassing Sam Adams maker Boston Beer (SAM), which rose 8% to 2.4 million barrels.

"It just floors me that so much of our beer industry is owned by foreign concerns," Dick Yuengling, the brewery's fifth-generation owner, told the Morning Call. "We were not in any race to be the largest domestically owned brewer, but it's a tremendous honor for us."

And Yuengling's sales will likely increase for 2012 because it just started selling beer in its 14th state, Ohio, the Morning Call reported.

Yuengling's growth is even more remarkable because the industry has been in a prolonged slide. Total beer shipments fell by 1.4% last year, Advertising Age reported.

The beer industry saw another shakeup last year: Coors Light surpassed Budweiser to become the No. 2 beer. It was the first time in decades that Anheuser-Busch hasn't controlled the top two beers in the country.

The following video has more details about Budweiser's long slide.

Post continues below.
It's interesting, and a little sad, that Yuengling can be the top U.S. brewer but have only 1.2% of the market. The company ranks No. 8 in overall market share. Even Pabst Brewing Co. is bigger, but Pabst doesn't actually brew its own beer, so it doesn't count as a brewer. And North American Breweries, which sells Genessee and Magic Hat, gets much of its volume from Canada's Labatt beer, Advertising Age reported.

Americans seem to be just fine with drinking foreign-owned beer. When InBev took over Anheuser-Busch four years ago, some observers thought U.S. beer drinkers would revolt, Advertising Age reported. That hasn't happened.

"The average consumer has a short memory," one industry expert told the magazine.

Tags: BUDSAMTAP
196Comments
Jan 17, 2012 6:22PM
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The popular m****duced beers like Coors Lite, Miller Lite, Bud Lite are considered "sessions' beers. That is a beer one will drink for a long period or "session". The better tasting beers like Yuengling, Sam Adams, Leinnies special brews are not "session" beers. Rather they are to be enjoyed for their great taste and not guzzled down for long periods. I personally prefer these craft type beers, but to each his own.

Actually a couple of beers to wet the pallet and then on to Crown Royal.

Enjoy!

Jan 17, 2012 6:18PM
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I drink local beer, I know the brew master very well. OK, it is me, My home brew is so much better than the stuff in cans. It cost me about $26 to make 10 gallons. The hardest part is the bottle cleaning and pressing a cap on.  Storing beer is a trick too. BUT no matter what the complaint I come up with, it all goes away when the Stout flows. Most grown men have a hard time getting three of my stouts down and still able to find the door. It is a tad bit stronger than anything on the shelf.  I was reading that 5% of beer drinkers make home brew. I with I had more beer drinking buddies, maybe one of them might get into it and help out with the work. I was asked if I ever thought about going micro brewery with a deli, my answer is why would I do that!?!? my buddies are all to tight to buy my beer. I would like to add that people who drink Bud are supporting overseas business, not local business.
Jan 17, 2012 6:17PM
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Sam Adams and Anchor Steam have Yeungling beat when it comes to quality.
Jan 17, 2012 6:13PM
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yuengling...america's oldest & best brew...cheers!!!
Jan 17, 2012 6:13PM
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I prefer my local home brew Saranac/Matts brewing in Utica NY. They are the brewers that were brewing Sam Adams even before they had a brewery!
Jan 17, 2012 6:13PM
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Sorry to say there is some inaccurate information...Miller Coors still operates out of Milwaukee WI...who also manufatures for other companies under contract, such as Schlitz, Pabst, and Old Style.

It's a shame foriegners have taken the American breweries from us!

Jan 17, 2012 6:12PM
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Actually, I prefer drinking 12 year old Scotch, but, HOORAY  for Yuengling. Hey, have I been out of it or what? What ever happened to Corona? Can you put a lime in a Yuengling? I know you can't put a lime in Scotch.
Jan 17, 2012 5:57PM
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Keystone Light Beer is number one in my house, taste great and cost less to drink. After 2 or 3 Light beers, what's the difference?
Jan 17, 2012 5:56PM
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Anheuser-Busch may be headquartered in Belgium, but it has 12 breweries here in the US, one in Jacksonville Florida where I live. This article is about American owned breweries in the US. Because I think that if it counted foreign owned companies with breweries in the US, Anheuser-Busch would top that list.

 

I did learn that Miller and Coors have joined as I thought they were separate competing companies.

 

I have tried Yuengling and I do like it, but not as much as I do Coors LIght.

Jan 17, 2012 5:45PM
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I still love my Alaskan Amber and other brews by them. Locally made here in AK.
Jan 17, 2012 5:43PM
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I LIKE BUD ,BLUE,COORS AND MILLER I NEVER TRIED Yehngling I GIVE IT A TRY BUT I LIKE TO VARY MY BEERS AND WHATS ON SALE OF THESE ,ITS  SHOULD BE WHAT EVER YOU ENJOY
Jan 17, 2012 5:41PM
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If you want to try a GREAT American lager in the traditional Wisconsin style have a Leinenkugel's Original.  Brewed in Chippewa Falls, WI.  Best damn beer in America. And, they have several seasonal brews, too. In the summer try their Summer Shandy.  A great thirst quencher.
Jan 17, 2012 5:37PM
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Drinking Light Beer is like having sex in a canoe.  Too close to water
Jan 17, 2012 5:36PM
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The reason that people drink Coors light, Budwiser, and Miller light--is because their climate is very hot.  It would be silly to pop open one of your vaunted microbrews at say a baseball game in Arlington Texas in August.  It needs to be very cold and you need to drink it quickly (to avoid heat stroke). 
Jan 17, 2012 5:34PM
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I remember when my dad used to drink this stuff in 16 oz. returnable bottles and even back then it was pronounced "Yehngling", not  "Yingling" as we're instructed today.  Is it truly America's oldest brewery?  Doubtful, but who knows.  At any rate, for an American (hurrah!) m****duced beer it's pretty good and finds a home 75% of the time in my tap.  One more thing:  Pottsville is not Pottstown...big difference.  
Jan 17, 2012 5:31PM
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More "studying up"

It is correct that Yuengling is neither Chinese nor Dutch. It is produced in the Pennsylvania Dutch region, which is descendent from German. That "Dutch" is a bastardization of the German word for German. But the word is not "Dursch," it's DEUTSCH.
Jan 17, 2012 5:31PM
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Coors beer was never illegal - it was just brewed in Colorado and not imported nationally like beers are today. Different world back then - hard to get, but illegal? Never.
Jan 17, 2012 5:30PM
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Someone needs to study up.

It was never "illegal to sell or have Coors outside of Texas"! I mean, Coors was never illegal to begin with. But Texas? Considering that Coors was originally brewed in Colorado, that would make it hard NOT to have some outside of Texas. However, it was first available primarily in, wait for it! Colorado! And it was available in nearby states, based on early distribution methods. I was able to get it in Arizona in the late 70s.
Jan 17, 2012 5:30PM
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I LOVE Yuengling beer. I used to drink only Reg. Budweiser, but now i drink Yuengling.I live in Ohio, so we just got it in.It's got alot of taste.American Made!
Jan 17, 2012 5:30PM
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Hey guys, how about placing your money on an American beer! Yuengling or Sam Adams. Both are great brews and ALL American.l 
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