10:28am

Sat July 5, 2014
Beer

Breweries Double Nationwide With The West Leading The Way

States in the Mountain West make up the majority of breweries.
Credit Jeremy Brooks / Flickr - Creative Commons

If you’re a fan of craft beer, you’re not alone. Breweries nationwide have doubled between 2007 and 2012, with shipments of $28 billion. That marks a 33.6 percent growth in revenue within a five-year span. Colorado is one of a handful of states that have led the way.

Throughout the United States, the number of breweries skyrocketed from 398 in 2007 to 869 in 2012, more than doubling the consumer options for purchasing beer varieties, according the U.S. Census Bureau.

That number depends on who is counting, the Brewers Association places the total 2012 number at over 2,000 breweries nationwide. The variation is based on how a brewery is defined.

Credit U.S. Census Bureau

Brewbound, a publication that reports on beer trends in the United States, points to the fact that the U.S. Census has a more stringent definition of what constitutes a brewery. Census Public Information Officer Robert Bernstein told Brewbound that breweries with less than 50 percent of revenue coming from beer sales were excluded in the national report, and that includes hundreds of brew pubs nationwide who make the bulk of their income on food sales.

Whatever data source you chose to consider, both surveys reveal one constant trend; craft breweries in America are on the rise. The Brewers Association has been keeping a record of brewery numbers since 1873, when breweries across the country topped 4,000. From 1920 to 1932, alcohol prohibition led to the closure of all breweries in the United States before the ban was lifted. The following decades crept at a slow pace and hit a low of 89 in 1978 before a steady incline over the past few decades and a significant spike in breweries since 2005.

As for Colorado, the Centennial State has the fourth largest number of breweries in the country, after Oregon, Washington and California. With 175 breweries in the state, that’s about one brewery for every 30,000 people.