Nation's Top 'Craft Brewery': Yuengling

Thanks to a rule change
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2015 5:52 PM CDT
Nation's Top 'Craft Brewery': Yuengling
Daniel E. Kelly, superintendent of streets for the city of Pottsville, Pa., patches some cracks on the giant Yuengling Lager bottle to be dropped from a flag pole for New Year's Eve celebrations.   (AP Photo/The Republican-Herald, Andy Matsko)

The new king of craft brewing, at least in terms of sales, is Yuengling. The Pennsylvania lager unseated previous champ Boston Beer, maker of Sam Adams. But as USA Today reports, the new No. 1 ranking wasn't due to a surge in sales but to a change in the definition of what a "craft" brewery is. In previous years, brewers such as Yuengling that used corn as an ingredient weren't eligible in the eyes of the Brewers Association. Now they are, and thus Yuengling debuted at No. 1, ahead of Boston Beer, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and Gambrinus in the top five.

CNBC puts Yuengling's volume at 2.7 million barrels, easily fitting under the max of 6 million barrels allowed to be considered small enough for the craft label. Craft brewers also need to be independently owned. Thanks in part to the relaxed rules on what constitutes "traditional" ingredients—rice and syrup are also OK now—craft brewers now account for 11% of the marketplace, the first time they've hit double-digits. California has 11 brewers in the top 50, ahead of Colorado's five, notes the Denver Post. (More beer stories.)

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