The Know: Colorado’s top 10 breweries of 2016 by the numbers

“Colorado is home to a treasure trove of craft breweries — the second most in the nation — but 10 stand above the crowd.

New Belgium Brewing ranks as the largest craft brewer in Colorado in a new report from the Brewers Association. The Fort Collins company made more beer in 2016 than the rest of the top 10 breweries in Colorado combined — and may hit another huge milestone this year.

The analysis offers fascinating insights into the broader craft beer market. The big takeaways: The industry grew by 1.4 million barrels in 2016. On average, more than two new breweries open every day. And India pale ales rank as the most popular style.

The report puts Colorado in a good light: “Having this many breweries that are regional craft breweries above 50,000 barrels is pretty tremendous for a state our size,” says Bart Watson, an economist at the Boulder-based Brewers Association, the industry’s trade group.

Eighteen Colorado breweries did not published their numbers, and the analysis no longer counts Breckenridge Brewery after its sale to Anheuser-Busch.

Here’s a look at the 10 largest Colorado craft breweries ranked by 2016 production…

6. Great Divide Brewing, Denver: 35,319 barrels

Great Divide is moving in a similar direction, toward reinvention. In 2016, it phased out three major labels, which owner Brian Dunn said was needed to add room for more brands. The moves — along with the introduction of new beers like a grapefruit radler — came after a 19 percent tumble in 2016 production.

Great Divide also is still managing complications from operating a brewery in one part of Denver (downtown Denver) and packaging facility in another (the River North neighborhood). But Dunn said numbers so far this year are rebounding.”

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