The Popularity Of Craft Beer Rises Every Year

The Popularity Of Craft Beer Rises Every Year


Craft beer production is at an all-time high in the United States, with the country reaching over 7,000 breweries in 2018 and expecting to add nearly 1,000 new breweries in 2019. But what is craft beer, and just how prevalent is it in the lives of drinking-age Americans?

The major beer producers in the United States – Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Constellation Brands – still dominate the industry’s sales, but small, independent craft breweries have increasingly climbed up the list of the top breweries in volume of beer produced for sale in the last few years. In fact, in 2017, 40 out of the 50 top breweries in the United States were craft breweries. 

But what is a craft brewery? According to the Brewers Association, craft breweries are defined by being both small (having an annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less) and independent (less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer) businesses that make beer. 

Considering that craft beer production is on the rise, and almost 400 counties in the United States had at least one brewery in 2016 that did not have any in 2012, we decided to take a closer look at this trend to determine where craft beer is making the biggest impact on local drinking scenes in our country. Even though craft breweries may utilize non-traditional ingredients, be engaged with their customers and community, and sponsor local events, there are risks associated with binge drinking in any setting, and it is important to be mindful of this if you choose to partake in the craft beer trend.

Using data from the Brewers Association on craft beer production by state, we mapped out the states that produce the most and least craft beer in the U.S. Read on to learn more about what we found. 


The states with the highest craft beer production by this metric were Pennsylvania and California by a wide margin, both producing over 3 million barrels of craft beer annually. Colorado and Ohio were just behind them in the rankings, but trailed far behind in terms of production, each producing around 1.5 million barrels annually. 

The states with the sparsest production were North Dakota, South Dakota, and West Virginia, each producing under 20,000 barrels of craft beer annually.

According to the Brewers Association, the most popular craft brewing companies in the U.S. are:

Drinking trends should be treated with a serious air of caution, including craft beer production in the United States. If you’re concerned that you or someone you know is abusing the use of alcohol, review our resources to learn more about how to help or get help.


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