Growth has been so explosive that the question is inevitable: When, if ever, will the craft craze level off?
A Time magazine article points out that in the late ’70s, there were just 44 brewing companies in the entire U.S. Now, there are roughly 2,500 — including 409 new craft brewers added just last year. Another 1,250 breweries are in the works. Growth has been so explosive that the question is inevitable: When, if ever, will the craft craze level off?
The New Yorker website recently launched an interactive craft-beer map of the U.S. full of factoids you can scroll over, such as that Blackstone Brewery in Nashville is the country’s fastest-growing brewery, and California has the most craft breweries overall (316), followed by Washington (158), Colorado (151) and Oregon (140). Mississippi has the fewest, with just three. (This is all based on 2012 data from the Brewers Association.)
The map also reveals that 48 out of the 50 states saw an increase in craft-beer production last year. The two exceptions are North Dakota, which only listed four craft brewers in 2012, and which apparently is rife with red tape concerning licensing and distribution, and Vermont.
There are signs that the craft-beer scene is getting overcrowded. While Vermont ranks boasts the most craft breweries per capita in the U.S., the state’s beer production fell 2.45% from 2011 to 2012. And with all the recent craft entries to the market, it can be hard for new brewers to get their beers on tap at restaurants and bars.
But a staff economist for the Brewers Association believes that there is still plenty of space for more growth. For one thing, the number of breweries would have to double in the U.S. before we were on par with the per capita brewery rate of Germany. Though if the craft beer industry keeps growing at the same rate, we’ll beat Germany within a few years.
Read the full Time article.