Study: Portland, Maine is Top U.S. Beer City


Portland, Maine is the best place to get a pint, according a new report from SmartAsset, a technology company that recently compiled its own list of the top 25 U.S. cities for beer drinkers.

Using information from SteadyServ Technologies and the U.S. Census Bureau, SmartAsset analyzed data from 296 of the largest U.S. cities, grading each location on five criteria: the total number of microbreweries and brewpubs, breweries per capita, bars per capita, average Yelp score and the average price of a pint. SmartAsset also sourced data from and Yelp for its reporting.

Portland, Maine — with more than 25 breweries per 100,000 residents — claimed the top spot. Asheville North Carolina and Portland, Oregon, which are both frequently cited as popular beer destinations, rounded out the top three.

A few other notable beer cities — including Denver, Colo. (5) Seattle, Wash. (6) and Grand Rapids, Mich. (12), also made the list.

Nearly 700 new breweries opened during the first 11 months of 2015, according to the Brewers Association. And although there are now more than 4,144 breweries in the U.S., about 1,000 cities with populations exceeding 10,000 are still without a local brewery, BA chief economist Bart Watson said in September.

Here are the top five places to drink beer, as ranked by SmartAsset:

  1. Portland, Maine: This city earned the top spot by having the most per-capita breweries and bars. Despite having a population below 100,000, Portland is home 17 microbreweries – one for every 4,000 residents — according to SmartAsset.
  2. Asheville, North Carolina: Like Portland, Asheville boasts a high concentration of breweries despite its smaller population. The city has 19 microbreweries and brewpubs but fewer than 100,000 citizens, according to SmartAsset, and the average cost of a pint is just $3.25.
  3. Portland, Oregon: Portland, Ore., is home to 11 microbreweries for every 100,000 residents and 68 in total, the most of any city on the list. Amongst top 25-ranked cities, Portland also had the second-highest concentration of bars with over 41 per 100,000 residents, SmartAsset said.
  4. Billings, Montana: Unlike the brewery-heavy top three, the bars in Billings are what helped the city claim a top five ranking. While the city has  just seven microbreweries, according to SmartAsset, and has one of the lowest microbrewery concentrations in the top 25, there are an abundance of places to purchase a pint. Offering more than 40 bars for every 2,800 residents, SmartAsset also noted that Billings had the 13-highest concentration of bars out of the 296 cities it analyzed.
  5. Denver, Colorado: Denver’s 58 microbreweries and brewpubs placed it at number five on SmartAsset’s list of top beer cities. While that’s the second most of any city analyzed, a larger population brings the per capita number of breweries to just 8.7 per 100,000 residents.

A complete list is available on the company’s blog.