The Brewers Association has released its list of the top 50 craft breweries in the United States for 2016, and D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. is on top yet again.
Two other Philadelphia-area breweries, Troegs Brewing and Artisanal Brewing Ventures (owners of Victory Brewing Company), were also included on the list this year at positions 38 and 22, respectively.
Pottsville's Yuengling took the top spot on the BA’s list, which is based on sales volume, for the third consecutive year this year. Rounding out the top five this time arond are Boston Beer Co. (maker of Sam Adams), Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing Co., and Gambrinus (which produces the Shiner brand of brew).
Yuengling’s placement on the BA’s craft brewery list comes following backlash for the brand over owner Richard "Dick" Yuengling, Jr.’s support for President Donald Trump. The brewery hosted Eric Trump for a campaign stop in October, with Yuengling famously telling the president’s son that “our guys are behind your father” because “the government is just in our face all the time.”
Yuengling’s support for Trump led to an outcry on social media, with State Rep. Brian Sims (D., Phila.) calling for 15 Center City bars in his district to stop carrying Yuengling, which some did. Others individuals also wrote on Twitter that they would boycott the brand over its owner’s support for Trump.
As Philly Beer Scene reported in 2015, the beer brand likely owes its continued inclusion in the top spot on the list to the BA's decision to alter the definition of what a “craft beer” technically is, thereby making Yuengling a craft beer brand in the association's eyes. As HuffPo reported that year, the BA lifted restrictions on the use of rice and corn in brewing, rather than just barley malt. It also opted to allow breweries that make up to 6 million barrels of beer a year to be considered “small” companies.
In addition to its top spot on the craft brewery list, Yuengling also came in fourth on the list of the top 50 overall brewing companies. It is behind brewing behemoths Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Pabst Brewing.
The Brewers Association itself is a not-for-profit organization that works on behalf of small and independent craft brewers in the United States. It recognizes top beer industry leaders annually, with a particular focus on craft breweries.