A report issued by the Washington, D.C.-based Beer Institute show Colorado produced 23.4 million barrels of beer last year, pushing longtime leader California out of the top spot. Aside from Coors, the nation's No. 3 brewer, Colorado is home to a large brewery in Fort Collins operated by Anheuser-Busch Inc., the nation's No. 1 brewer. Craft-beer makers have been taking on a larger role in Colorado's beer economy. The state has 92 craft brewers and ranks third nationwide in craft-beer production, after California and Oregon. Additionally this new ranking could be due to Coors Brewing Co.'s decision to close its Memphis brewery in September 2006, following its merger with Molson Inc. "With a strong beer culture and a rich brewing history, it's no surprise (Colorado) has become No. 1," Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute, said in a statement announcing the results. Perhaps a beer road trip to Colorado should be planned for 2008.