Last year, the Brewers Association—a trade group representing America’s small, independent breweries—released its inaugural list of the country’s fastest-growing craft breweries, and today it’s released this year’s list. At the top is small-but-mighty Lake Time Brewery in Clear Lake, Iowa, which launched in 2013 but greatly expanded its production last year. The rankings are based on percentage production growth year over year, so they don’t represent the overall largest breweries in America (that list is here, and is led by Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, Constellation, etc.). Instead, these are mostly small breweries—median production: 1,350 barrels per year, just a speck of the 202.2 million barrels of beer sold in the U.S. in 2018—that saw a big jump in the amount of beer they made from 2017 to 2018.
Almost all regions of the country are well-represented, especially the Midwest and Northeast, with breweries coming from 27 states total. In the fine print, the Brewers Association notes that the data is drawn only from breweries who reported numbers to the association’s Beer Industry Production Survey, so breweries with staff estimates or data from state excise tax reports were excluded. Breweries on the list also need to provide validated 2017 numbers—no wishful thinking allowed.