Putting Out the Vibe Random observations from my day-to-day life

October 12, 2012

Where the Beer Flows like Wine: breakdown by state

I have a lot of pride in my Wisconsin roots – especially when it comes to beer. Although, the quality of WI beer (and beer drinkers) is hard to rival, since moving to Colorado, I’ve felt conflicted whenever I hear Coloradans bragging about the number of breweries in this state. Then, a couple of weeks ago I was discussing this point with some coworkers – one from CA and one from WA – who both thought their states had “a lot” of breweries too. When it comes to beer, this isn’t my first rodeo (or my first map) so I feel pretty qualified to get to the bottom of this issue…
 
Number of Breweries by State

Number of Breweries by State
From brewersassocation.org as of 10/8/12
California 512
Colorado 259
Washington 214
Texas 171
Oregon 168
New York 164
Pennsylvania 160
Michigan 150
Illinois 138
Wisconsin 119
North Carolina 105
Florida 104
Ohio 93
Virginia 89
Massachusetts 83
Minnesota 81
Missouri 73
Arizona 68
Indiana 66
Georgia 59
New Jersey 54
Tennessee 54
Iowa 49
Maryland 47
Montana 47
Maine 45
Idaho 38
Connecticut 37
New Mexico 35
Nevada 33
Nebraska 31
New Hampshire 30
Vermont 30
Alaska 29
South Carolina 29
Utah 27
Louisiana 25
Alabama 23
Kansas 21
Wyoming 20
Delaware 19
Kentucky 18
Hawaii 16
Oklahoma 16
South Dakota 15
Arkansas 13
District of Columbia 13
Rhode Island 10
West Virginia 10
North Dakota 8
Mississippi 7
Total US Breweries: 3,725

A table of all of this data is displayed to the right.
 
I acknowledge this map has limitations. For example:

  • Texas is ginormous – so 171 breweries really isn’t that impressive.  Actually, looking at breweries per capita by state may be more indicative of quality beer culture.  The Brewers Association does just that and found Vermont to be number one.  Wisconsin was an unfortunate number nine in 2011.
  • This data is from the Brewers Association’s Find US Brewery page and was retrieved on 10/8/12.  While I believe this list to be pretty comprehensive,
    1. Breweries throughout the US are constantly changing from year to year
    2. The list includes both “breweries in planning” and chains, such as BJ’s (counting multiple BJ’s locations in one state seems like cheating)
  • The Beer Mapping Project takes breweries in each state a step further and plots actual location. It’s very interesting to look at density of breweries in certain regions of the country. For example, while the above map shows that Illinois has 138 breweries, almost all of these are located in the Chicago area.

Regardless of Wisconsin’s rank, either by total breweries or breweries per capita, there is one thing that Wisconsin has that no other state does:
 
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