Brewers Association: U.S. Brewery Count Eclipses 3,000

Bart Watson, BA staff economist

There are now more than 3,000 breweries in the U.S., according to Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s (BA) staff economist.

Through the end of June, the BA counted 3,040 breweries, which marks the first time the U.S. has crossed the 3,000-brewery threshold since the 1870s.

Watson, who announced the statistics on the trade group’s blog yesterday, said the sustained rise in the number of U.S. breweries represents a “return to the localization of beer production.” 

“The majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a local brewery, and with almost 2,000 planning breweries in the BA database, that percentage is only going to climb in the coming years,” he wrote.

According to Watson, the BA count is based on the number of brewing facilities actively selling beer in the marketplace, but does not include breweries-in-planning, alternating proprietorships or contract brewers who do not possess a brewers notice. The count also only includes brewing facilities that are not counted as “someone else’s facility” in an effort to prevent double-counting, which would otherwise inflate the figure.

But as more craft breweries continue entering the space, Watson believes beer companies will need to focus more on supplying well-differentiated, high-quality products in order to stave off competition.

“While a national brewery number is fairly irrelevant without understanding local marketplaces, 3,040 breweries could not happen without increased competition in many localities,” he wrote.

The 3,040 U.S. brewery count represents an increase of 318 companies since the end of 2013.

You can check out Watson’s full blog post here.