Surprising American Craft Beer Statistics
By Frank Hamilton
When I think of craft beer breweries I tend to think of Colorado, Oregon and Washington state. But a recent article by the Brewers Association opened my eyes to the volume of craft beer brewing around the country and I was surprised by some of the top states.
So What State Has the Most Craft Breweries?
According to the Brewer’s Association, in 2019 California had the most craft breweries with a tidal of 907 breweries. This was followed by Colorado with 425 craft breweries and New York and Washington State in a close tie for third with 423 each.
You can see the full list of states at the end of the article.
What States Have the Least Craft Breweries?
On the other side of the coin, Mississippi is the state with the least number of craft breweries with 14. Technically, the District of Columbia has the lowest number of craft breweries with 12. But DC is not a state.
North Dakota (22) and Hawaii (24) are found just above Mississippi at the bottom of the list.
Craft Beer Brewing by Region
Breaking craft brewing down by region can be a little tricky because different people define regions differently in the US. So for the sake of the article I looked at several maps outlining US regions and settled on this one.
What Region Has The Most Craft Breweries?
The Midwest has the most craft breweries in the US.
If I had to bet on the answer to that question before looking at the data, I would have picked the Pacific region. I would have lost my bet. I was surprised to discover the Midwest actually has the most craft breweries with 2006 craft breweries in the region.
The Southeast and Northeast regions are second and third with 1654 and 1555 craft breweries respectively. The Pacific region is fifth with 734 craft breweries behind the West region with 907 craft beer makers.
What Region Has the Most Breweries per Capita?
The Northeast has the most craft breweries per capita.
The next question that came to mind was which region had the most breweries per capita? I don’t know where I would have laid money if I were betting. If I were smart, or lucky, I would have put my money on the Northeast, with 61.5 people for every brewery.
My uninformed guess may have pointed to the Pacific region again, but a quick look told me California has almost 20 million more people than the state of New York and because the Northeast has almost twice as many craft breweries it makes sense. Ranked fifth in number of craft breweries and containing the state with the largest population it makes sense the Pacific region came in second to last with only 6.5 people per craft brewery.
The Midwest fell in second place, behind the Northeast region, with it’s high number of craft breweries and relatively low population giving the region 54.1 people per brewery.
The West region surprised me coming in last with only 3.1 people per brewery, falling far below the noncontinuous states (Alaska and Hawaii) that averaged 11.1 adults per brewery.
The Number of Breweries Proportionate to the Amount Brewed.
The Northeast region brews the most barrels of craft beer but only has the third highest number of breweries.
The Amount of Craft Beer Brewed in Proportion to the Number of Breweries Per Capita.
Craft Breweries Per Capita By Barrels Brewed.
While it isn’t surprising the region with the most craft beer breweries brews the most barrels of beer, what I find surprising is the Southeast region brews the second highest number of barrels of beer and the West has the smallest number of breweries per capita, yet outbrews the Rocky Mountain Region in number of barrels of beer.
Number of Craft Breweries By State
It’s interesting to see the data broken down by state, so I’ve included it here. I might use my GrabOpener to pop open a cold craft beer and plan my next road trip to visit regional breweries. Maybe if I choose a small state I can work my way through several of the 43 breweries in Kentucky, alternating visits with Bourbon distilleries? The possibilities are endless.
State by state list of craft brewery statistics.