The Brookston Beer Bulletin has posted its list of the top 50 breweries by sales volume for 2009. The top three, Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors, and Pabst Brewing are no surprise. What is surprising to me is that D. G. Yeungling and Son is ahead of Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams). I’ve only ever been able to get Yeungling on the East Coast, while Sam Adams is available everywhere. Sam Adams also advertises much more aggressively than Yeungling (no facts to support this – just opinion).
I don’t know that much about Yeungling beers or if they claim to be a craft beer brewer. Sam Adams claims to be a craft beer brewer. At what sales volume does a micro-brewer of craft beers become a macro-brewer like InBev or MillerCoors? The big guys have attempted to make some craft beers (usually poorly). Are they craft brewers?
I count myself among those that like craft beer because much of it is brewed by micro-brewers. I believe (whether true or not) that micro-brewers are in it for the love of beer. Micro-brewers put themselves into their beers, and their stories make their beers more interesting and appealing to me. At some point a brewer loses that appeal if they get too big. Has Boston Beer Co. crossed that line?