Top Craft Beers of 2017

Major brewers own half of the best-selling brews

CHICAGO -- Craft beer continues to be a healthy growth opportunity for convenience stores and beyond. The subcategory saw 7.8% growth in case sales and 9.6% growth in dollar sales in c-stores during 2017, according to year-end data from IRI. The increases represent the strongest growth for the category among all channels of retail.

Ironically, while the category is driven by local brewers and consumers' desire for new and different flavors, half of the best-selling craft-beer brands (often referred to as "better beers" to include those owned by major brewers) in the United States are those that have been acquired by major brewers, according to IRI, and have capitalized on distribution strengths.

A Statista chart shows MillerCoors' Blue Moon is the best-selling craft beer in the U.S., with $341.4 million in sales, followed by Boston Beer Co.'s Samuel Adams at $287.1 billion, Sierra Nevada at $246.9 billion and New Belgium at $204.8 billion.

Among the beer brands in the top 10, Blue Moon and Leinenkugel are owned by MillerCoors, Shock Top and Goose Island are owned by Anheuser-Busch, and Lagunitas is owned by Heineken USA.

In c-stores, however, the top 10 craft-beer brands in 2017 varied slightly. They were:

BrandDollar salesPercent change from a year ago
Blue Moon$113.6 million2.2%
Sierra Nevada$75.8 million(1.1%)
Samuel Adams$66.7 million(17.2%)
Lagunitas$59.6 million11.2%
New Belgium$57.1 million11.2%
Shiner$53.2 million2.0%
Leinenkugel$40.4 million7.1%
Shock Top$38.7 million(13.1%)
Goose Island$31.8 million30.7%
Sweetwater$27.7 million22.8%

Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide)

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