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Updated: April 11, 2022

Maine brewers make national ranking as thirst for craft beer grows

Rob Tod and Luke Truman on the Allagash Brewing factory floor, each holding a can of beer. File photo / Tim Greenway Allagash Brewing Co. of Portland ranked No. 23 among the largest craft beer makers in the U.S. Pictured here in a 2020 file photo are Allagash founder Rob Tod, right, and facilities manager Luke Truman.

Craft beer makers were hopping last year — turning out 8% more suds nationally than in 2020 and growing the workforce by double digits — and two Maine brewers were among the busiest.

Allagash Brewing Co. and Shipyard Brewing Co., both based in Portland, have made the 2022 Brewers Association’s ranking of the 50 largest craft beer producers in the U.S. Allagash came in at No. 23, up from No. 29 last year and No. 28 in 2020. Shipyard was No. 46 this year, like last year, but ranked No. 42 in 2020.

The Brewers Association, a national trade group representing nearly 6,000 small and independent breweries, compiles the rankings annually based on the volume of beer produced the previous year by each brewery, but doesn't disclose those individual numbers.

D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. of Pennsylvania topped the ranking, released last week, while Boston Beer Co. (NYSE: SAM) was No. 2. This is the eighth consecutive year the Boston maker of the Samuel Adams brand took the silver medal.

Another Bostonian, Harpoon Brewery, was No. 21. Other rankees across New England were: Athletic Brewing Co., Stratford, Conn., No. 27; Narragansett Brewing Co., Pawtucket, R.I., No. 32; Long Trail Brewing Co., Bridgewater, Vt., No. 36; and Fiddlehead Brewing, Shelburne, Vt., No. 49.

map of US
Courtesy / Brewers Association
A map shows the locations and ranks of the 50 largest craft beer makers in the U.S., including No. 23, Allagash, and No. 46, Shipyard, both in Portland.

Allagash ranked No. 32 in a separate list from the association of the largest U.S. brewers of all types. That list, not surprisingly, was topped by giant Anheuser-Busch Inc. Yuengling and Boston Beer ranked No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.

Overall, the beer market increased just 1% by volume in 2021, according to the Brewers Association. But craft beer makers produced 24.8 million gallons in 2021, up 8% from 2020, and expanding the craft share of the overall market from 12.2% to 13.1%.

As brewpubs and taprooms reopened their doors to onsite customers, craft beer employment also soared 25% to 173,000 direct jobs.

“Craft brewer sales rebounded in 2021, lifted by the return of draught and at-the-brewery traffic,” said Bart Watson, chief economist of the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association.

“However, the mixed performance across business models and geographies as well as production levels that still lag 2019 suggest that many breweries remain in recovery mode. Add in continuing supply chain and pricing challenges, and 2022 will be a critical year for many brewers.”

The number of craft breweries continued to climb in 2021, reaching an all-time high of 9,118, including 1,886 microbreweries, 3,307 brewpubs, 3,702 taproom breweries, and 223 regional craft breweries.

There are 136 craft breweries in Maine, ranking the state second only to Vermont in the number per capita, according to the Brewers Association. In 2020, the state produced a total of 312,410 barrels of beer, ranking Maine 20th nationally but fifth among states per adult population. 

The Brewers Association includes two Mainers on its 26-member board of directors: Dan Kleban, co-founder and owner of Maine Beer Co. in Freeport, and Jason Perkins, brewmaster and vice president at Allagash.

For the complete rankings and additional information, click here.

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