Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saint Arnold Moves Into the Top 50

The Brewers Association has released its Top 50 Craft Breweries list for 2009, and good news for Texas: Saint Arnold has joined Spoetzl on the list. The list is based on sales volume.

Spoetzl (based in Shiner, the maker of Shiner beers) was a given — they ranked fourth in 2008, and held onto that spot in 2009. For overall breweries (including the megacorps), Spoetzl ranks ninth.

This is the debut on the list for Houston's Saint Arnold – they just made the cut at 48th. (Last year they were 51st – d'oh!) Well deserved, too – they rival Austin's Live Oak as my favorite Texas brewery. Rare is the occasion when I leave Austin's Ginger Man Pub without having at least of one of St. Arnold's cask-conditioned Elissa IPAs, and I almost always have at least one variety of St. A in my fridge.

Texas technically had two breweries on the list last year, but one of them was Pete's. Although owned by San Antonio's Gambrinus company (which also owns Spoetzl), Pete's connection to Texas is only financial – the company was founded in California is now contract-brewed in New York.

Congrats to Gambrinus for turning Shiner around from near-extinction back in the 1990s to a brewing powerhouse today, and to St. Arnold for its continuing growth into the consciousness of America's beer lovers.


Anonymous said...

The list is based purely on sales, so fairly meaningless unless you are looking to buy stock.

Lee said...

Um … not sure I see your point. How are sales meaningless?

Anonymous said...

Meaningless in that the 'Top Craft Brewer" is not the brewer that ships the most beer for those of us who buy and consume beer according to quality.

Lee said...

Well actually, it sort of does – "craft brewer" generally means brewers that are striving for quality and interesting flavors. You'll notice that this list does not include the big industrial brewers.

So, among brewers that are going for quality beer, these are the top sellers.

Anonymous said...

yeah and I bet Saint Arnold has more GABF and World Beer Cup medals on the wall than your favorite too! Many can say what they want, but Brock knows his beer.