BA: Americans Have Unprecedented Access to Local Beer

Using U.S. Census data from 2010, the Brewers Association (BA) believes that more Americans than ever before now live near breweries.

BA economist Bart Watson reports that 52.9 million Americans, or 17.1 percent of the population, live in a ZIP code tabulation area with a brewery.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, ZIP code tabulation areas are “generalized areal representations of United States Postal Service (USPS) ZIP code service areas.” In other words, an aggregated collection of smaller zip codes used for Census accounting purposes.

While a nice umbrella factoid, it alone doesn’t paint the picture of where all of these breweries are actually located, which is really the crux of the analysis the industry trade group published yesterday.

Not surprisingly, Watson wrote, breweries are more often located in “heavily populated” areas. While the average U.S. ZIP code tabulation area claims 9,371 people, the average ZIP code tabulation area with a brewery has more than double that at 23,035.

Despite the fact that 60 percent of all zip code tabulation areas have fewer than 5,000 people, Watson adds, 46 percent of brewery tabulation areas boast between 20,000 and 50,000 people.

These figures suggest that there’s room to grow. According to Watson, more than 3,800 zip code tabulation areas with larger than average populations do not currently have a brewery.

In fact, of the more than 33,000 zip code tabulation areas in all 50 states, Washington D.C, and Puerto Rico, only 2,295 have a brewery.

“It drives home just how diverse geographically the craft brewing movement has [become],” Watson wrote in the blog.

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