Ohio craft beer lovers are trumpeting the news that the state ranks as the fourth-largest in the U.S. in terms of craft beer production. That statistic stood out when the cerebral The New Yorker magazine compiled an online, interactive map breaking down craft beer stats by state.
Ohio’s craft beer industry certainly is growing by leaps and bounds — especially in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton — but make no mistake that there’s one reason, and one reason only, that Ohio ranks so high for craft beer production.
It’s Boston Beer Co.
Boston Beer, the maker of the Samuel Adams brands, ranks by sales as the top craft brewery in the country, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association. It just so happens that Boston Beer, which still meets the definition of "craft brewer," has a brewery in Cincinnati.
Using association data, The New Yorker reported that Ohio produced 980,969 barrels of craft beer last year. Boston Beer doesn’t release how much it brews in Cincinnati or its other operations, but in a 2010 interview with founder Jim Koch, he told me that the brewery had the capacity to make 600,000 to 700,000 barrels a year there.
Meanwhile, the well-respected Great Lakes Brewing Co. in Cleveland produced about 120,000 barrels last year.
In other words, conservatively, Boston Beer made more than half the craft beer produced in the state last year.