Cans of beer will be snapped open in millions of American backyards this Memorial Day weekend, and while brews from the big companies like Anheuser-Busch InBev and Molson Coors will, naturally, be in the hands of many, more and more people are turning to beers from smaller craft brewers.
Indeed, craft beer surpassed 6% of the total U.S. beer market in 2012, with sales hitting $10.2 billion, according to the Brewers Association, a trade group that tracks statistics for the brewing industry.
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Here are the top ten U.S. craft brewing companies, according to the Brewers Association, based on 2012 sales volume.
1. Boston Beer Co.
Founded in 1984, the Boston Beer Company, which makes Samuel Adams beers, is the top U.S. craft brewer by sales volume. The Boston, MA-based brewery sold 2.1 million barrels of beer in 2012, according to the Brewers Association.
2. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Second on our list is Chico, CA-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. which had a sales volume of just over 966,000 last year.
3. New Belgium Brewing Co.
Fort Collins, CO-based New Belgium Brewing Company, known for its Flat Tire ale, sold about 765,000 barrels of beer last year.
4. Deschutes Brewery
Up next is the Deschutes Brewery, based in Bend, OR. Deschutes' sales volume was a bit over 255,000 barrels in 2012.
5. Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Out in Petaluma, CA lives a brewery by the name of Lagunitas, whose sales volume in 2012 was more than 244,000 barrels of beer.
6. Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Since selling its first beer in 1985, Bell's Brewery has grown to be the seventh-largest craft brewer in the U.S. The Galesburg, MI-based company sold more than 216,000 barrels last year.
7. Matt Brewing Co.
The maker of the Saranac line of beers, Matt Brewing Co., is based in Utica, NY. It's sales volume last year was almost 208,000 barrels, putting it at number seven on our list.
8. Harpoon Brewery
Another brewery from Boston, Harpoon had sales of 193,000 barrels in 2012. Founded in 1986, the brewery is best known for its Harpoon India Pale Ale.
9. Stone Brewing Co.
Number nine on our list is Escondido, CA-based Stone Brewing Company, with its flagship Stone Pale Ale. Stone sold more than 177,000 barrels of beer last year.
10. Brooklyn Brewery
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Brooklyn Brewery makes number 10 on our list of the top U.S. craft brewers, selling 176,000 barrels of beer in 2012.