3 MN Breweries Make List of 50 Largest in U.S.
Minnesota, which has quickly become a hotspot for beer makers, is well represented on a just-released national breweries list.
August Schell Brewing Company, Summit Brewing Company, and Cold Spring Brewing Company all made the Brewers Association’s “Top 50 Overall U.S. Brewing Companies” list.
The Brewers Association, a Colorado-based trade group that represents small and independent beer makers, based its list on 2012 beer sales volume—a metric that breweries don’t typically disclose to the public. Of the 50 brewing companies listed, 39 are “small and independent craft brewing companies” (for the full Brewers Association craft brewer definition, click here).
Schell’s ranked 25th on the list. The New Ulm-based brewing company is Minnesota’s largest based on barrels produced in Minnesota in 2012, of which there were 131,600. Schell’s announced in March that it has planned a $2 million expansion that will boost its brewing capacity by 66.7 percent.
Summit, meanwhile, ranked 32nd on the list. It produced 112,451 barrels within Minnesota last year, making it the state’s second-largest brewery. Its inclusion on the list comes after two recent developments. In November, the brewery expedited plans for a $6 million expansion that will increase its space for fermentation, capacity, and storage. And earlier this year, Summit updated its logo and launched the first beer that's part of its new “Union Series,” a line featuring limited-run beers that highlight “new raw materials and ingredients appearing on the brewing scene.”
Cold Spring, based in the small, central Minnesota city of Cold Spring, ranked 39th on the list. It is the third-largest brewery in Minnesota based on barrels produced within the state; late last year, it was projecting more than 100,000 barrels for 2012. In 2011, Cold Spring introduced a new brand called Third Street Brewhouse and built an 18,000-square-foot facility to brew new beers under the Third Street Brewhouse label.
In conjunction with its list of the nation’s largest brewing companies overall, the Brewers Association also released a “Top 50 U.S. Craft Brewing Companies” list. Summit ranked 23rd on that list, and Cold Spring ranked 28th.
Schell’s, however, didn’t appear on the list of craft breweries. According to the Brewers Association, Schell’s beer does not fit craft brew parameters—a finding that the company adamantly disagrees with. According to the association, Schell’s isn’t deemed “craft” because more than half its volume contain “adjuncts”—cheaper non-malt products typically used to lighten flavor. Under the association's definition, breweries using such methods are not considered “traditional.”
Summit and Cold Spring were honored last year as two of Twin Cities Business’ “Small Business Success Stories.” To read more about each of them, click here.
For a list of the 23 largest Minnesota breweries based on barrels produced within the state, click here.