Top 50 Craft Brewers in the Country Include Two Maine Craft Beer Makers
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
I'll tell you what we did during the pandemic, we drank craft beer.
Craft beer makers made 8% more beer nationally in 2021 than in 2020. The workforce also grew by double digits! And Maine was right in the thick of it!
According to MaineBiz, two Maine Brewers were among the busiest!
Allagash Brewing Company
Allagash in Portland made the 2022 Brewers Association's ranking of the 50 largest craft beer makers in the country. Allagash came in at #23 and that's up from #29 last year and #28 in 2020!
Allagash is such a great story. In 1995, Rob Tod opened a brewery. He rented a spot in the corner of a warehouse in an industrial park and called it Allagash Brewing Company. He stared with one beer, and one beer only: a Belgian-style wheat beer called Allagash White. By 1998, that one beer was winning awards. In 2010 Allagash saw its greatest expansion. In 2019, Rob won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits. If you don't know - that's a big friggin' deal!
Shipyard Brewing Company
Shipyard Brewing, also based in Portland, also made the 2022 Brewers Association’s ranking. They came in at #46 this year, like last year, but down a little from their ranking of #42 in 2020. The '90s were huge for craft brewers in Maine and Shipyard is no different having started in 1992. Fred Forsley and Alan Pugsley served the first Shipyard Export Ale at Federal Jacks in Kennebunkport, ME. They quickly outgrew the restaurant and moved to Portland to start Shipyard Brewing Company. Like Allagash, they have won many awards and are a favorite to share with family and friends.
The Brewers Association
The Brewers Association is a national trade group representing nearly 6,000 small and independent breweries. They are the behind the rankings that come out every year, based on the volume of beer produced. There are 136 craft breweries in Maine. We come in second only to Vermont in the number per capita, according to the Brewers Association. In 2020. There are 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.
From this map, you can see that middle America hasn't quite gotten into craft beer. But they will just give it time. Here is the whole list of rankings from the Brewers Association.