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 10:03AM
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I agree that beer made close to you is best so I chose Coors Gold that I have been drinking every since it was marketed here in colorado.  I also like Shinner Bok a darker beer made in Texas.  Lite beer to me is like drinking water from the fauset.  there are numerous pub bewers here in Colorado but they are very proud of them.  I'll continue to drink gold in the 30 pack and not pay for an inferior beer.
Jan 17, 2012 9:59AM
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Coors was thought to be fantastic before it was available in some states.  Bootleg Coors brought a minimum of $20 a case back when available brands cost $6.  Same with Stroh's.  When they became available the attraction was shown to be the inability to purchase locally, not the quality of the beer.  "Sell the sizzle, not the steak" remains true.
Jan 17, 2012 9:43AM
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i like yuengling except it gives me a headache after 10 or 12 beers.
Jan 17, 2012 9:39AM
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Don't forget Schells the 150 year old brewer located in New Ulm, MN maker of Grain Belt
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In my opinion the best beer in America is Shiner, out of Texas. We have been able to get it here in Georgia for the last few years. They brew about 5 variety's, and all are excellent. Shiner No. 1!
Jan 17, 2012 8:22AM
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Well....not only is Yuengling the #1 brewer in the country... It IS the oldest brewery in America. why was that not referenced?

On another note. This beer is great cold or warm. Black & Tan is best! Which is the way beer should be drank anyway. Cold beer is Americanized. My grandfather would take a hot poker out of the fire and warm his beer with it.

However, a cold beer after a round of 73 with your buddies is priceless.
Jan 17, 2012 8:21AM
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uh..have any of you people looked at the ingredients used to make Yuengling!!!!  This beer is made with low grade ingredients, not a truly good brew by any sense.   I live in Pa. and went to college near Pottsville,  at parties this beer was scoffed for being low class with bad taste...it just shows you what revamped marketing can do for an old low grade product.   If you want a really good beer from a really great brewer, look at Troeg's beers....this is what real beer taste like!!!  with quality ingredients!!!   also a Pa. brewer near hershey that is just starting out,  I predict they will over take Yuengling if they so desire to become a big brewer....
Jan 17, 2012 7:38AM
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My neighbor turned me on to Yuengling 5 or so years ago.  Here in New Hampshire we have to go all the way to New York to buy it. In the summer we'll buy 30 or so cases just to make it through the summer.  Great Beer!!!!! Glad to hear the rest of the country is beginning to find out what we have known for awhile. Would like to see it hit the New England states.  But until then, I'll make the trip to NY.   Thank You, Mr.Yuengling!!!!!!
Jan 17, 2012 2:45AM
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Budweiser should forget about making beer and stick to television. Their commercials are the best but the beer...not so much.
Jan 17, 2012 2:13AM
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I can remember when you couldn't get Coors east of the Mississippi. Our local bars would get as high as 4-$5.00 a can for it. Yuengling is good beer, by no means a cheap beer. Few beers taste quite like it. Like others, I'd take Yuengling over anything else.
Jan 17, 2012 1:20AM
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I'm not picky ,but any beer taste good, except some of the really cheap brands you get at Grocery Outlet, if they are really cold they all taste good. Beer is my favorite alcoholic beverage by far, just don't drink too much.
Jan 17, 2012 12:15AM
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Boulevard out of Kansas City claims to be the largest domestic brewer.  I don't know , but maybe.
Jan 17, 2012 12:14AM
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There are plenty of small breweries today in the USA turning out very fine products.  In my humble opinion for consistency across the board, SIERRA NEVADA in Chico California is the nations finest brewery Try their limited release Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop Ales, if you can find them.  They are released twice a year to a handful of stores and sell out in a day or two. There is no better bottled Ale on the face of the Earth and that includes England and Belgium.
Jan 16, 2012 11:39PM
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I will take Yuenglijng over any other domestic beer.  It has a great unique taste!!!
Jan 16, 2012 10:40PM
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I've spent many days and made lots of friends touring Germany.  They know a few things about beer over there.  When they come to Pottsville they only want Yuengling products.  Won't even touch German beer while here.  Real Germans hate Becks and only drink regional beers brewed near their homes.  Yuenglings survived so long on taste alone.  Period.  Vive le Pottsville!
Jan 16, 2012 10:34PM
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Rocky Mtn High prefers his bud lite over the craft beers. Rate beer scores it a zero.

Jan 16, 2012 10:11PM
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If you truly enjoy beer, jettison the Bud/Coors/Miller stuff and brew your own. Homebrew is far better tasting and you have the ability to make whatever you like. I enjoy darker beers and stouts in the winter and lighter golden ales in summer.

 

BTW, hats off to Sam Adams who has supported home brewers and small breweries during the last Hops shortage....very cool.

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