Summit is now Minnesota's biggest brewery

Does that look like the country's 24th highest-selling production line? It should!

Does that look like the country's 24th highest-selling production line? It should! Brian Peterson/Star Tribune

Glug, glug, glug.

To laymen, that's the sound of polishing off an ice-cold brewdawg. But, to the craft beer industry, it's the sound of money.

On Tuesday, the Brewers Association released its annual ranking of U.S. microbrewery sales by volume. The key takeaway for Minnesota drinkers? Summit Brewing Co. leapfrogged August Schell Brewing Co. to become the state's biggest-selling brewery in 2018.

In total, three local suds producers placed on the trade group's list: St. Paul's Summit (No. 24, up one spot from '17), New Ulm's Schell's (No. 25, down one spot), and Minneapolis' Surly Brewing Co. (No. 34, up five spots). When factored in, the so-called "macrodaddies" (Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, etc.) seize seven of the top 10 spots, but those Minnesota brands still remain in the top 50. 

“Although the market has grown more competitive, particularly for regional craft breweries with the widest distribution, these 50 small and independent brewing companies continue to lead the craft brewing market in sales through strong brands, quality, and innovation,” Bart Watson, BA's chief economist, says in a statement.

Summit may not be the glitziest brand among craft-beer aficionados -- and, in recent years, it pulled distribution from several states and announced layoffs -- but the local craft-beer pioneer appears plenty strong. 

"I love it when people criticize us for being consistent and balanced," founder Mark Stutrud told us in 2016. "I'm glad that they notice. We were the ones that really had to put our shoulders to the plow. We work damn hard to make sure we have that consistency."

All this talk of beer and corporate market share got you thirsty? Here are five Minnesota brews to drink in March.