Craft beer and craft breweries have become ubiquitous to the urban and even not so urban setting. Every week I feel like I hear about a new taproom opening that I have to try. To be honest, I thought this fad may have tapered off by now, but my recent Google maps search for breweries has proven me very wrong. Which I suppose means this whole craft beer business can’t really be called a fad as the number of breweries in the U.S. and around the world keeps growing at an impressive rate.
Up until the 80’s, the beer brewing scene was dominated by big breweries (think Budwiser, Coors, etc) and the U.S. saw the lowest number of breweries since prohibition in the 1930’s. Once home brewing was legalized by Jimmy Carter in 1978, the number of breweries in the U.S. started a strong resurgence. That year there were but 89 active breweries remaining across the 50 states.
Fast forward ten years to 1988, and there were already 199 active breweries. In 1994, the count passed 500. In 2011, it passed 2,000. And halfway through 2016, there were over 5,000 active breweries in the U.S. The trend in the U.S. is leading to brewery booms all around the world.
The U.K. actually ranks second in number of breweries in the world. Back in 2010, it had 828 breweries. By the end of 2016 that number hit 2,090.
Mexico has the highest preference towards beer in the Americas at 78%, versus wine and spirits (source: Brewers Association). It had only 14 breweries in 2010. At the end of 2016, the number was 400.
Finally, the island and peninsula of Hong Kong is seeing a beer boom. In 2010 there were just 4 active breweries. In 2012 they had their first ever craft beer festival, called Beertopia HK, which is now a massive extravaganza drawing 14,000 attendees and breweries from around the world. At the end of 2016, the number of local active breweries in Hong Kong reached 21.
In short, craft beer is on the rise and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Prost!
For those of you in the Minneapolis area, here are a few I’d recommend.