America’s craving for craft beer continues. If you want actual numbers, just head over to this Brewers Association blog by Bart Watson, the organization’s staff economist. At the end of 2013, the number of breweries in the United States reached the highest level seen in the country since 1876. Even more mind-blowing, the BA counted 2,722 brewing facilities in the United States at the end of December, an increase of almost 400 from the end of 2012.
The number of operating breweries for the calendar year will be somewhat higher to account for breweries that operated for some of the year, but closed during 2013. The operating breweries figure will be released later this winter. These breweries broke down as follows (for more on these definitions see market segments):
Regional breweries: 120
Large breweries: 24
It’s a high-water mark for the last 140 years, but not the highest. According to Watson, in 1870, the Register of United States Breweries listed 3,286. What a crazy year for beer. Back to building our time machine.