It’s finally happened. The brewing community in the United States has broken the historical high of 4,131 breweries operating in the United States — a feat not broken since 1873 — a damn good year to drink beer. In fact, we crushed that ye old number (like a six pack of quaffable session ale). According to a year-end review from the Brewers Association, as of the end of November there are now 4,144 breweries in the country.
“This is a remarkable achievement, and it’s just the beginning,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Beer has always been a hallmark of this country and it is even more apparent today as America’s beer culture continues to expand.”
That means brewery openings now exceed two a day. Is that sustainable? We asked Watson a few weeks back. “There are over 8,000 wineries in the United States, and Americans drink a lot more beer than wine,” Watson is quick to point out. Here are some other fun notes from the Brewers Association report:
- Fifteen states are now home to more than 100 breweries: California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana.
- IPA remained the top style sold by independent craft brewers, and continues to grow faster than the overall craft category.
- Data shows that “locally made” is important to over half of craft beer buyers.
- Similarly, knowing that the beer is made by a small and independent brewery is important to a majority of craft drinkers in their purchase decision.
“Craft breweries are a part of their communities, operating in neighborhoods and towns, returning us to a localized beer culture,” added Watson. “There are still thousands of towns currently without a brewery — but with populations potentially large enough to support one. With beer lovers continuing to desire more full-flavored, innovative options from small and independent local breweries, ample opportunities exist for well-differentiated, high-quality entrants in the marketplace.”