Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The Top-Selling Craft Beers in America

By William Brand
Wednesday, October 20th, 2004 at 11:28 am in Uncategorized.

I love statistics – baseball or beer. Today, we’re talking beer, of course, and Adams Beverage Group, an alcohol research company, based in Norwalk, CT has a new research report with some encouraging news for those of us who prefer full-flavored beer over yellow rice and corn beer.

Sales of what Adams calls “microbrewed ‘’ beers rose 3.4 percent in 2003, while overall beer consumption fell 0.3 tenths of one percent. Light beer sales also rose 3.4 percent.
The Adams Beer Handbook costs $595 _ it’s used mostly by large marketing companies and ad agencies. However, in a phone interview, Tiziana Mohorovic, the company spokeswoman, provided a bit of info.
Top selling microbrewed beers in bottles (not, apparently draft sales), according to Adams:
1. Yuengling Porter, Yuengling, Pottsville, PA. 18.1 million cases, 1,313,497 barrels. Founding 1829, this is America’s oldest brewery and its easily the oldest porter in the U.S. Dark, sweet, delicious. ***
2. Sam Adams Boston Lager, 9.4 million cases. At 13.78 cases per barrel that’s 682,148 barrels. Some brewers love to hate Jim Koch and Boston Brewing, but I believe he’s done a great service for great American beer. This is a beautifully made, European style lager. ***

3. George Killian Red, Coors, Golden, Colo., 8.2 million cases, 595,065 barrels. This may be a loose, sweetish, interpretation of an Irish Red Ale; it probably has some corn mixed in with the barley, giving it a “light’’ taste, much revered by large, American brewers. But in a pinch _ say, when stuck somewhere in Iowa, It will do. **
4. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA. , 7.16 million cases, 519,593 barrels.
There are days when I think I can never drink another beer with Sierra Nevada’s signature, floral, Cascade hops _ then I happen on one at a party , try it and still love it. Bottle conditioned; all barley malt. A real American classic since 1981. *****.
5. Fat Tire Amber Ale, New Belgium Brewing, Fort Collins, CO., 3.2 million cases, 232,220 barrels. People love this beer. I’ve seen cases of Fat Tire fly out the door in places as diverse as Albuquerque, NM and San Francisco. Personally, New Belgium makes many other brews that I like better: Loft, Biere de Mars, for example.
But it’s impossible to fault Fat Tire: Straightforward, well-balanced, very drinkable ale. Another All-American beer. ***. WILLIAM BRAND

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