California lone state ahead of Colorado in number of top craft brewers

Colorado’s craft beer scene is well represented on the list of the top 50 craft brewing companies in the U.S. But not nearly well represented as the Golden State.

People drink at the recently opened New Belgium Brewing Co. brewery in Asheville, North Carolina. (Courtesy of New Belgium Brewing Co.)
Cold, frothy beer. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) beer; nightlife; kevinjbeaty; bars; denverite; denver; colorado;
Cold beer here. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Colorado’s craft beer scene is well represented on the list of the top 50 craft brewing companies in the U.S.

But not nearly as well represented as the Golden State which has about twice as many brewers on the ranking.

“The Top 50 Breweries of 2016” list put out Wednesday by the Brewers Association shows Colorado having five craft beer makers among the giants of small and independently made beer. The Centennial state had the second highest number behind California which had 11 brewers as well as Duvel Moortgat which has a presence there, Missouri and New York.

Based on beer sales volume, New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins is one the largest craft breweries in the country, holding the No. 4 spot on the annual list just behind California-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Oskar Blues Brewing Co.’s expansion to all 50 states helped move the Longmont brewery up four spots from 2015 to No. 10. Odell Brewing Co. in Fort Collins saw an even a greater jump, climbing five spots to No. 27 in 2016.

Avery Brewing Co. is officially competing with the heavyweights in the craft beer scene. The Boulder brewery appears have made it the list for the first time in 2016, coming in at No. 48.

Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing was the only Colorado company that fell on the 2016 list, going from No. 39 to No. 44. Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton was included among the top craft brewers in 2015, but due to its sale to Anheuser-Busch — the largest brewer overall — Breck is no longer considered a craft brewer by The Boulder-based Brewers Association.

The association releases the lists of the top 50 craft brewers and brewers overall each year. The organization focused on craft beer does not release the volume numbers for individual breweries.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at or

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at