Which Cities are Fueling America’s Craft Beer Boom?
The craft beer industry in the United States has been a bright spot of the economy for nearly a decade.
With an economic impact of $23.5 billion and the number of operating breweries in the U.S. totaling well over 5,000 today, the industry is clearly past the point of being a millennial fad. There are more choices available than ever before, and this appears to signal a broader shift in consumer preference.
Below is a look at both historical and recent craft beer industry numbers:
Mapping Craft Beer Hubs
The craft beer boom is a nation-wide trend, but there are certain cities that have an outsize influence on the industry both in volume and reputation. Recently, The Pudding’s Russell Goldenberg looked to answer the question: which city is the microbrew capital of the U.S.?
Goldenberg looks at both quality of beer (based on user ratings), as well as the quantity of nearby breweries as criteria. Below are the Top 10 cities based on equal weights for both categories, with an end result that may be unexpected for some.
Extremely high user ratings helped power mid-sized cities like Santa Rosa and Anchorage up the rankings. The offerings in these places, such as Russian River Brewing and Midnight Sun Brewing Company, are among the top rated brewers in the country, setting a high bar for quality.
However, in terms of the pure quantity of breweries, cities like Denver, Portland, and San Diego can’t be beat. The Denver “Beer Triangle” has over 72 breweries alone, while Portland is a regular destination for beer lovers from all over the continent.
New Breweries Per Capita
Looking at the state level, per capita data paints an interesting picture of where craft beer hot spots are beginning to emerge:
Browse the full list here.
Most notably, Vermont is wild about craft beer, though their industry is more uniformly spread throughout the state (as opposed to clustered in a single city). A recent count shows 68 active breweries in a state with just 625,000 in population – a very impressive beer-to-drinker ratio.
Will the craft beer boom continue, or is there already too much froth in some cities?
Currently, 75% of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery, but there are still plenty of population centers that could support a local brewery. Savvy marketing, unique offerings, and millennial preferences for local products may continue to push the craft brew trend into new parts of the country, so this will be an interesting list to revisit in a few years.