Number of American Breweries Reaches 125 Year High

As craft brews gains popularity, the number of breweries swells

Although no one has ever doubted the America's affinity for beer, it’s only in recent years that the amount of breweries has approached pre-Prohibition highs. The year 2012 marks a 125-year high point in the total number of beer brewers.

There are currently 2,126 breweries in the USA compared to 1,776 in 2011. The last time Americans had this many breweries to choose from was in 1887 when there were 2,011 in the country. The Brewer’s Association credits this boom in part to the growing popularity of craft beer. During the first half of this year, craft brewers sold nearly 6 million barrels as sales jumped 12 percent.

This beer trend shows no signs of stopping with over 1,200 breweries currently slated to open up in the next few years. As Americans are becoming increasingly interested in unique beers, such as Belgian brews, India Pale Ales and seasonal beers, these numbers will continue to grow. Paul Gatza, director of Brewers Association, said of craft beer’s popularity, “it’s a fact that beer drinkers are responding to the quality and diversity created by small American brewing companies.” The high volume of recently opened breweries can also be credited in part to this focus on a more artisinal style of beer. These new brewers are smaller and are producing less than big companies.

The record high number of breweries was 4,000 in 1873. Considering how the population has boomed during the interim, imagine how much beer Americans must have been consuming per capita back then!  If the number of breweries continues to grow, it's only a matter of time before the amount of breweries in America surpasses the all-time record.