5 Most American Beer Brewers
None of that makes a beer "American." Milwaukee's Miller Brewing was acquired by U.K.-via-South Africa's SAB in 2002, placing it firmly under foreign control. Denver-based Coors merged with Canada's Molson in 2005, splitting the brewery between the two countries. Though the term "American" still applies -- Canadians will remind U.S. drinkers that both are in North America -- it's tough to call MolsonCoors a U.S. company when one of its headquarters is in Montreal. SABMiller and MolsonCoors still have operations here, but much of it falls under their joint venture MillerCoors. That operation brews and distributes not only MolsonCoors and SABMiller brands, but it also brews beer for Pabst Brewing, including its Pabst Blue Ribbon.
All of St. Louis can attest that Budweiser is no longer an All-American beer, which already a stretch for a beer whose name and formula have Czech origins and are routinely the subject of legal battles in Europe. Belgium's InBev bought A-B for $52 billion in 2008 and the resulting Anheuser-Busch InBev has a figurehead headquarters in Leuven, Belgium, but Chief Executive Carlos Britto and much of A-B InBev's operations are in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Don't look to regional brewers or small "craft" brewers for easy answers. Mendocino Brewing of Ukiah, Calif., has been in business for more than 30 years and bought most of its equipment from pioneering brewer Jack McAuliffe and his New Albion Brewing, but has been owned by UB Group of Bangalore, India, since 1997. Burlington, Vt.-based craft brewer Magic Hat (founded in 1994) and Seattle-based Pyramid Breweries (1984) have been linked since the former bought the latter back in 2008, but both were swallowed up by KPS Capital Partners and its North American Breweries in 2010 and added to a portfolio that already included regional breweries Genesee and Dundee. In 2012, North American Breweries was sold to Florida Ice and Farm, which is based in Heredia, Costa Rica. Genesee, Dundee, Magic Hat and Pyramid all still work fairly autonomously -- with Genesee still releasing American Flag cans around this time of year -- but they still answer to an ownership group well south of the Lower 48 states.
With Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City, Mo., and Brewery Ommegang owned by Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat and Berkley, Calif.-based Trumer Pils owing much of its existence and credibility to its Austrian co-owners, even some of the best craft beer produced in the U.S. doesn't quite pass the "All-American" test.
So what can a patriot put in his or her beer cooler that will have stronger ties to the U.S. than the flag-draped impostors in the beer aisle? We took a look at the best-selling beers in the U.S. and came up with five that are not only brewed and based here, but drunk here in large quantities. Granted, these brewers all take their cues from the German, Czech and Belgian brewers who came before them, but this is more about home addresses than it is about history: