Yeah, things are slowing down in craft beer. But keep in mind that is saying something for one of the hottest growing business sectors in the US. 2016 saw a tapering off in in growth and, by some measurements, a regression. But there’s still over 5,200 breweries in the United States. It’s during these times that we take a step back and see where we’ve come and where we are.
Priceonomics.com came up with a sweet graphic showing the number of breweries per person per state. They built this infographic using the Brewing Association’s newest data on breweries per state.
As you can see, the best bet for beer per person, per region is the Northwest and Colorado. Washington State ranks third with 337 breweries. They took all this data and put together this sweet map showing the number of breweries per person per state.
Recently, Washington Beer Blog posted results showing that Seattle has the most breweries of any city in the US at 174. This was derived from calculating the total number of breweries from the surrounding metropolitan area and not within city limits.
Side Note: It’s interesting that the Seattle metropolitan area also includes Skagit County. That means Seattle also got to include Chuckanut’s South Nut in their total. I feel cheated!
Using Seattle’s metropolitan population 3.6 million they have 4.8 breweries per 100,000 people.
Instead of staying within city limits, Datafiniti looked at Metropolitan Statistical Areas. For instance, instead of looking at San Francisco proper, they included the surrounding cities in the Bay Area. For Seattle, they included what we we would call the Seattle-Tacoma area. Among other top cities for breweries, Chicago ranked second, followed by Denver and Portland.
By state, Washington than stands at 4.6 breweries for every 100,000 people and we rank 6th in the US. Vermont leads the way with 8 breweries for every 100,000 people. This means Seattle, while holding half of the breweries in the State stands at just about average for the state as a whole, in terms of per capita.
Where does Bellingham stand?
Hey, we love the Seattle craft beer scene, but let’s not forget that Bellingham is a powerful concentration of world renowned craft beer, that rivals any city. So let’s put this into numbers, so we might appreciate it more.
If we calculate breweries using the metropolitan area of Bellingham, what is our actual breweries per capita? There will be 12 breweries within city limits, once Melvin Brewing and Illuminati open in June(ish). With a population of 83,000 that would be about 14.5 breweries per 100,000 and puts us near the top of any list.
But let’s compare apples-to-apples and calculate our breweries per capita, using our metropolitan area. There are 212,000 in Bellingham’s metropolitan area. That area includes all of Whatcom County. We’ll be including North Fork Brewery, Atwood Ales Farm Brewery in Blaine, soon to be Illuminati Brewing and soon to be Melvin Brewing. That’s a total of 14 breweries, by June with others in talks! Once all breweries are included, Bellingham has 6.6 breweries per 100,000 people. Wow. We’re in elite company. That will put us into 6th place in the US, ahead of Seattle, WA and Portland, OR. We can put this on our mantle with being named the snobbiest beer city in America.
But don’t act surprised people! Tap Trail put on the 2017 Bellingham Beer Week and it showcased this town’s amazing craft offerings to the entire region. People came from all over the region to visit this smoking hot bed of craft beer and there ain’t no slow down in this town! Bellingham is a premiere craft beer destination. Keep in mind that it’s not all about the numbers. It’s really about the heart of this town’s craft beer culture, our brewers, owners and craft beer lovers. We could input any number of beer towns into this and they’d likely sky rocket to the top. Anyone want to take a crack at Hood River OR?
See you on the Tap Trail!
(h/t to Datafiniti)