Monday, April 13, 2009

Spoetzl No.4 Craft Brewer, No.10 Overall

The Brewers Association, the trade association of craft brewing industry, released the 2008 stats on the top 50 brewers in America (two lists, actually — craft brewers and overall brewers). Texas' very own Spoetzl Brewery (the makers of Shiner beers and celebrating its 100th anniversary this year) comes out looking pretty good, ranking 10th in sales (by volume) among all breweries, and fourth among craft (defined by the BA as "small, independent, and traditional" beer makers).

Another of my "hometown" favorites — Boulevard Brewing of Kansas City, where my in-laws live — came in 8th and 16th.

While I'm quite proud of Spoetzl, my Lone Star pride is wounded by the rest of the list. The only other Texas brewer listed is Pete's Wicked, but that's only a technicality — Pete's was founded in California but is now owned by Gambrinus (San Antonio). Yes, Gambrinus also owns Spoetzl, but as far as I know, none of Pete's product is actually brewed in Texas. According to Wikipedia, it's all brewed by contract out of New York. So realistically, we just have one, albeit a powerhouse. (And pretty impressive one, considering that less than 20 years ago, Spoetzl was on the verge of going belly-up.)

I'd dearly love to see some more of our Texas brewers climb into that top 50. On the craft list, California has 11, and Colorado and Oregon each have five. Hmm … maybe if we allowed on-site sales at the brewery, that might happen.

Well, fortunately, you can take direct action to help them out — get out and drink more Texas beer! (My friends and I did our part this weekend, putting away a not-so-healthy amount of Saint Arnold Spring Bock, Live Oak Pilz and Big Bark, and a variety from the Real Ale portfolio.)

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