Last week I mentioned that when Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi wrote the business plan for Sierra Nevada Brewing their goal was to sell 3,000 barrels of beer annually. They produced 1,500 barrels the first year (1980) and the brewery passed 3,000 in its fifth year of operation.
The Brewers Association classifies breweries that make fewer than 15,000 barrels (31 gallons in a barrel, you’ll recall) “microbreweries” and those larger “regional breweries.” Quite honestly, 60,000 is a more important number to breweries because all barrels produced after that are taxed at a higher rate.
Anyway, it took Sierra Nevada 10 years to grow beyond “micro,” and five years later the brewery produced 150,000 barrels. Growth isn’t always linear. But just for the heck of it here’s a look at 10 breweries you’ve likely heard of and how long it took them to grow from “micro” to “regional.”
How are they doing now? Rather than use 2008 sales figures, which are more than a year old, I’ll update the chart in a few months, after the Brewers Association compiles the 2009 data.
|(Yr of operation)||That Yr||Previous yr|
|Sierra Nevada Brewing||1989 (10th)||20,884||14,000|
|Widmer Brothers||1991 (7th)||27,500||12,000|
|Deschutes Brewery||1994 (7th)||19,719||8,564|
|New Belgium Brewing||1994 (4th)||18,951||5,837|
|Harpoon Brewery||1994 (8th)||24,000||12,950|
|Boulevard Brewing||1995 (7th)||21,000||14,748|
|Bell’s Brewing||1996 (12th)||15,631||10,250|
|Stone Brewing||2002 (7th)||18,450||12,779|
|New Glarus Brewing||2003 (11th)||18,700||13,700|
|Dogfish Head Brewery||2004 (10th)||20,200||13,600|