To meet the growing demands from thirsty consumers, Michigan-based craft brewers have rapidly scaled up production at their manufacturing facilities.
Craft beer production in Michigan grew 41.5 percent in 2014 compared to a year ago, according to recently updated state-by-state statistics from the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo.-based industry association.
Last year, the 159 craft brewers in the Michigan produced 825,103 barrels of beer, up from 582,909 in 2013. Nationally, Michigan ranked 10th in the nation for the volume of beer produced and sixth for the number of craft breweries.
Combined, the amount of beer that West Michigan’s two largest breweries sold last year accounted for 62 percent of the state’s overall production.
In 2014, Galesburg-based Bell’s Brewing Inc. sold 318,926 barrels of beer, up 28 percent from the prior year and around 38.6 percent of the state’s overall total, according to Brewers Association statistics cited in a report from Brewbound, an industry publication. The maker of the Two Hearted Ale and Oberon brands maintains a 1.44 percent share of the craft beer market nationally.
The brewery sales statistics are only shared with members of the Brewers Association.
Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Company tied with San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits as the fastest-growing craft brewery in the nation in 2014. Sales for Founders, the maker of brands including Centennial IPA, All Day IPA and Dirty Bastard, grew 74 percent last year to 193,000 barrels of beer, according to the report.
The two companies were the only craft breweries from Michigan to make the list of the nation’s top 50 brewers. Bell’s ranked eighth and Founders ranked 17th.
As MiBiz previously reported, both Founders and Bell’s Brewing are currently in the midst of large-scale production capacity expansions. Bell’s announced last month that it was working with a Detroit-based contractor to expand its manufacturing facility to allow the company to produce 1 million barrels of beer annually.
Meanwhile, Founders is wrapping up an expansion of its plant that will give it room to grow into a 900,000-barrel production capacity, although immediate plans call for an expansion to about 600,000 barrels.
Nationwide, craft brewers produced more than 21.7 million barrels of beer last year.