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The Year in Beer: U.S. Brewery Count Reaches All-Time High of 4,144

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2015 Craft Beer in Review from the Brewers Association Reveals Historic Number of Breweries in U.S.; Most Since 1800s

Boulder, CO • December 2, 2015—The total number of U.S. breweries reached a record level in 2015, according to a year-end review from the Brewers Association—the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers. As of the end of November, there are now 4,144 breweries in the country, topping the historic high of 4,131 breweries in 1873.

“This is a remarkable achievement, and it’s just the beginning,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Beer has always been a hallmark of this country and it is even more apparent today as America’s beer culture continues to expand.”

Of note in 2015:

  • Brewery openings now exceed two a day.
  • Fifteen states are now home to more than 100 breweries: California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana.
  • IPA remained the top style sold by independent craft brewers, and continues to grow faster than the overall craft category.
  • Data shows that “locally made” is important to over half of craft beer buyers.
  • Similarly, knowing that the beer is made by a small and independent brewery is important to a majority of craft drinkers in their purchase decision.

“Craft breweries are a part of their communities, operating in neighborhoods and towns, returning us to a localized beer culture,” added Watson. “There are still thousands of towns currently without a brewery–but with populations potentially large enough to support one. With beer lovers continuing to desire more full-flavored, innovative options from small and independent local breweries, ample opportunities exist for well-differentiated, high-quality entrants in the marketplace.”

Historic Number Breweries

View interactive timeline of U.S. breweries 1873-2015

Note: Figures are a compilation of data provided by the Brewers Association, IRI Group and Nielsen. The Brewers Association will release a comprehensive annual analysis of craft brewer production in March of 2016.

About the Brewers Association

The Brewers Association is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The Brewers Association (BA) represents more than 70 percent of the brewing industry, and its members make more than 99 percent of the beer brewed in the U.S. The BA organizes events including the World Beer CupSM, Great American Beer Festival®, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America®, SAVOR℠: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience, AHA National Homebrewers Conference, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week®. The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine and its Brewers Publications division is the largest publisher of contemporary and relevant brewing literature for today’s craft brewers and homebrewers.

Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association. Follow us on Twitter.

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