Ohio, most famously known as the home of Craft Brewing Business, is now also home to 400 active craft breweries. Hell yeah! Take a bow Guernsey Brewhouse in Cambridge – slated to open in mid-July – because you are the 400th licensed craft brewery in the state. To celebrate all things Buckeye beer, here are some more stats via the great Ohio Craft Brewers Association.
There is now at least one brewery in 72 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and nearly 40% of the state’s 400 breweries have opened in the past three years. The overwhelming majority of those breweries sell their beer primarily in their own on-premise taprooms, serving as cultural hubs and gathering spaces for their communities.
The taproom brewery business model relies on personal interaction and congregation, two things that have been a challenge since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, despite adverse public health and economic conditions, Ohio has averaged 48 new brewery openings per year since 2020, against just 11 average annual closings over the same span. While the number of yearly new openings has decreased slightly from pre-pandemic levels, there are still more than 70 known breweries-in-planning that will soon be making beer in Ohio.
Ohioans of legal drinking age consume about 4.6 gallons of craft beer per person every year, which ranks #13 in the country. Despite an above average consumption rate, Ohio ranks just 24th in breweries per capita, suggesting that there’s still room for growth in the market, especially for breweries that sell mostly by the pint in their own taprooms.
The state’s reputation for producing world-class beer is growing: Ohio breweries set a new state record this month at the World Beer Cup competition, bringing home a total of 15 awards in “The Olympics of Beer Competitions.” Ohio breweries have also earned 36 medals at the past three Great American Beer Festival competitions.
Ohio’s beer tourism industry is rebounding after the pandemic-induced slowdown. Visitors bureaus and breweries in Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Dayton and Toledo all offer brewery passport programs, encouraging people to visit all the participating craft breweries in their regions.
The Ohio Craft Brewers Association also offers a free statewide brewery passport app – Ohio On Tap – that counts more than 60,000 users drinking craft beer and earning rewards while visiting the nearly 300 association member brewery taprooms.
Craft breweries as a whole produce more jobs and economic impact per barrel of product than their larger competitors. In 2020, even with the effects of the pandemic, Ohio craft breweries were responsible for more than $880 million dollars in economic activity in the state, as well as nearly 8,300 local jobs. While a single macrobrewery can produce 10-15 times the combined barrelage of all 400 of the state’s breweries in a single year, they employ a small fraction of Ohioans compared to those working at our independent breweries.