As craft beer week wraps up in Colorado, craft brewers and enthusiasts have yet another reason to celebrate. The Brewer’s Association has released their compilations of the Top 50 Breweries of 2014, and perhaps unsurprisingly, Colorado is well-represented.
The Brewer’s Association released two lists, and ranks both by the volume of beer produced by them. Five Colorado breweries were featured on “The Top 50 U.S. Craft Beer Companies” and four were featured on the “Top 50 Overall U.S. Brewing Companies.”
Perhaps the most surprising finding, though, is that the majority of the second list was made up of craft breweries — ranking right up there with the likes of beer giants Anheuser-Busch, Miller Coors, and Pabst Brewing Co.
“The companies on this list include the vanguard of the craft industry,” said Bart Watson, chief economist of the Brewers Association said in a news release. “They are exposing new beer lovers to craft, opening new markets and creating opportunities for the entire category. As they continue to grow, so will the availability of innovative and high-quality beers produced for all to enjoy.”
It’s no secret that Colorado is becoming a craft beer mecca of sorts — the state already boasts an estimated 175 craft breweries.
Number eight on the list of largest breweries in the U.S. overall, New Belgium, is a Fort Collins-based brewery which saw such incredible growth in 2014 it chose not to open to new markets until later this year. According to the Denver Post, New Belgium saw a 19.3% increase from the year before (which translates to 945, 367 barrels of beer).
The release of the lists comes just at the conclusion of Colorado’s Craft Beer Week, which ran from March 21 through the 29. Craft Beer Week is a celebration of the state’s craft brewers, restaurants, and pubs, which speaks to the no longer emerging, but well-established craft beer community in the state.