Earlier this month, the Brewers Association announced that at the end of 2013, there were 2,722 brewing facilities in the U.S., a number not seen in the last 140 years.
Small and independent craft breweries represent 98 percent of that number—an amazing accomplishment for an industry that, not long ago, analysts believed only a handful of giant multinational companies would represent the brewing industry in the U.S.
While the highest brewery count in U.S. history was 3,286 in 1870, the 2013 number is a vast contrast to the early days of what we call the “craft brewing renaissance.”
You can read Brewers Association staff economist, Dr. Bart Watson’s breakdown of the current craft beer market in “U.S. Brewery Number Climbs Over 2700,” but I thought it would be cool to share this map from a 1985 issue of The New Brewer, which shows the micro, pub and specialty breweries at that time (only about 25). The term craft brewer hadn’t even been coined yet!