Continued Growth

LAKEWOOD – Southern Tier Brewing Company has cracked the top 50 as one of the largest craft and overall breweries in the country.

Earlier this month, the Brewers Association, a nonprofit trade group that tabulates production statistics for the U.S. brewing industry, released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., which is based on 2012 beer sales volume. Southern Tier was the 37th-largest craft and 48th-largest overall brewery in the United States.

Nathan Arnone, Southern Tier Brewing Company graphics, media and marketing, said the company had been on the list before, but never as high or in the top 50.

“We are really excited about it,” he said. “We’re a production brewery. We’ve been working to that end for several years now. When we see things like this, it reconfirms our commitment to making quality beer.”

Arnone said Southern Tier has been on the list of top 100 breweries since 2005. He said with recent expansions at the company, including a new brew house which started production in February, the amount of beer the company brews continues to increase. He said the business now packages about 12,000 bottles an hour.

“In the few years we’ve been in business we’ve grown at a phenomenal rate,” he said. “We’re producing more beer now a year than we did in several other years combined. Every year, we are making more and more beer.”

Of the top 50 overall brewing companies on the list, 39 are small and independent craft brewing companies

“In 2012, craft surpassed 6 percent of the total U.S. beer market, with volume and dollar sales reaching record levels,” said Paul Gatza, Brewers Association director. “Increasingly, beer lovers are turning to craft-brewed beer from small and independent producers to satisfy their thirst for bold, innovative and flavor-forward beers.”

Phineas DeMink, Southern Tier Brewing Company owner along with his wife, Sara, said it is an honor to be in the top 50 breweries, but he doesn’t gauge success by where the company is on the list.

“We didn’t get into business to be on a list,” he said. “It is nice for Chautauqua County. It is something else that will draw people here to visit beautiful Chautauqua County.”