This text initially appeared on Priceonomics.

It’s troublesome to overlook the diploma of selection beer lovers can get pleasure from at this second within the US. That is because of the explosion of small breweries approaching to the scene, which emphasize experimenting with flavors and kinds

Over the previous 40 years (because of deregulation within the beer business) the number of breweries in America expanded from a post-prohibition low of below 100, to over 5,000 in 2016. The majority of this progress comes from small breweries, probably the most acquainted to shoppers being the microbrewery.

In response to the Brewers Affiliation, a commerce group for American craft brewers, a microbrewery is any native and impartial brewer that sells fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer per yr and sells not less than 75% via different bars, eating places, and liquor shops.

Sadly, it’s not the case that you may stroll to your native liquor retailer and select from 5,000 totally different breweries to deliver residence tonight. The attain of small breweries are confined to explicit markets as most microbreweries have restricted and native distribution. The range from these small craft breweries is often restricted to the state or metro space the brewery the place the brewery is positioned. The very fact is, some areas of the nation are simply higher for beer aficionados who need a lot of choices.

So the place do you’ve gotten the perfect likelihood to pattern the best number of beer attainable? Which states and cities have probably the most breweries general?

We analyzed enterprise itemizing knowledge from Priceonomics buyer Datafiniti to supply some perspective into that. This knowledge set included the listings of craft breweries together with their places. We mixed this with supplementary data from the Brewers Association catalog of breweries, to supply extra particular particulars. From our evaluation, we’re capable of finding out in what components of America breweries reign supreme.

We discovered that cities within the Pacific Northwest and Colorado are your finest wager for locating probably the most breweries in a single place. Cities alongside the coasts and within the Midwest are additionally strong locations. There are additionally some thrilling small cities outdoors of this development that shouldn’t be neglected (like Asheville, NC). Vermont is the state with probably the most craft breweries per capita, whereas Boulder, Colorado is the town with the very best density of craft breweries.


To start our investigation, the pure place to begin is to take a look at the state degree. So, which state has probably the most breweries?

Knowledge supply: Datafiniti

Primary is California by a critical margin, with over 600 breweries. Colorado and Washington are the subsequent closest with about 350 every. With 15 or fewer breweries, Hawaii, Mississippi, Washington D.C. and North Dakota are on the backside of our checklist. Total we see a larger variety of breweries in coastal states, in addition to the Nice Lakes area. 

Colorado is an outlier on this general development, however that’s as a result of it independently developed one of the vital distinct state beer cultures. It’s each the house of a brewing large, Coors, and a significant participant within the craft beer revolution. Actually driving residence the significance of brewing within the state is the truth that the present governor was a cofounder of one in every of Denver’s first microbreweries.

Wanting on the data in absolute phrases skews our checklist in direction of the bigger states with larger inhabitants. It’s intuitive that states with extra individuals (and due to this fact extra beer drinkers) would be capable to assist extra breweries. Understanding the variety of breweries per capita will inform us the place breweries are most plentiful relative to inhabitants.

Knowledge supply: DatafinitiDatafiniti

The title of most breweries per capita goes to Vermont. Although they solely have about 50 in complete, because the state is so small, that equates to eight breweries per individual. Montana, Colorado, Maine, and Oregon all have about 6 breweries per individual. Total we see a powerful presence of breweries within the Pacific Northwest, New England, and the Midwest.

Vermont has a powerful craft brewing custom. After modifications in state regulation within the late 80’s allowed extra small breweries, there was a dramatic improve in brewpubs (brewery-restaurant hybrids that brew the beer they serve on web site) and later microbreweries. One other attention-grabbing inclusion is Montana. Its craft brewing sector has grown over the previous a number of years, with business manufacturing rising by 50% between 2010 and 2013. Maine can also be experiencing a current growth with an increase from 34 breweries in 2011 to 59 in 2015.


Breweries have at all times been tightly related with cities. Within the wave of immigration from Europe, immigrants got here into cities and introduced their beer making traditions. In actual fact, earlier than prohibition there have been simply as many breweries in America as there are actually (every a lot smaller in measurement and manufacturing, in fact).

From Brewerytown in Philadelphia, a neighborhood on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations, characterised by the stays of the ten breweries that when stood there, to New York City’s host of former breweries, run principally by German immigrants – our early cities liked beer.  Cities have been vital due to their entry to scrub water, accessible labor, and ease of distribution. Prohibition destroyed the business and the stays of this period are gone, however the significance of cities remains to be obvious right now for most of the similar causes.

For this evaluation, we checked out Metropolitan Statistical Areas, geographic areas with excessive inhabitants density that are interconnected economically and socially. It is because, for the needs of what beers can be found through which markets, metropolis boundaries should not the perfect markers. For instance, San Francisco is very interconnected with different cities within the Bay Space akin to Oakland (each are a part of the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA). A beer brewed in a single metropolis is probably going accessible within the different.

So, which MSA has probably the most breweries? The place is our the US brewing capital?

Knowledge supply: Datafiniti

Seattle-Tacoma wins that title with 174 breweries. Different high MSAs embody Chicago, IL, Denver, CO, and Portland, OR.

Much like the case with the state evaluation, it will be important that we not solely take into account absolute quantity, but additionally breweries per capita. 

Boulder, CO is our high MSA with 13 breweries per 100,000 individuals. Boulder is a key contributor to the wealthy brewing custom of Colorado (talked about beforehand) and had a powerful homebrewing culture within the late 80’s. In actual fact, Colorado has probably the most metropolitan areas on our checklist, with Fort Collins, Denver (host of the Nice American Beer Pageant) and Colorado Springs along with Boulder. 

A couple of different metropolitan areas are price noting as a result of they’re totally different than what most individuals would anticipate. Asheville, NC is the one metropolis within the South on our checklist. Craft brewing grew right here in late 90’s and it has since been named the perfect beer metropolis in America by a number of publications. Additionally the town of Portland is an attention-grabbing case, however not the one you’re considering of. It could be shocking, however Portland, Maine is definitely ranked increased than Portland, Oregon.


You are actually outfitted with a complete and exhaustive survey of American breweries. By digging into the quantity we are able to see that if you need quite a lot of breweries to select from, your finest choices are cities on the West Coast or Colorado, however you actually can’t go unsuitable in most huge cities.

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