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Big Cities Catchin’ Up: 8 Metro Areas Home to 100+ Breweries Each, Including 3 Biggest

A number of the country’s biggest cities have caught up to smaller metro areas with higher brewery counts, analysis shared this wk by Brewers Assn economist Bart Watson shows. Despite faster growth of brewery counts in urban areas since 2013, rural areas still have more breweries per capita, on average, Bart shares in post focused on this rural/urban split. Impressively, “urban clusters with 2,500 to 10,000 people actually have the most breweries per capita,” compared to other areas organized by population size, he wrote after looking at 2010 Census Bureau stats and brewery locations based on zip codes. “Those areas have 7.6% of the breweries in the country, despite representing only 3.5% of the US population,” Bart wrote. Indeed, he underscores that population remains a far weaker predictor of how many breweries per capita will be in a given city than what state that city is in.

That point underscored by map embedded in Bart’s post, which shows brewery count by metropolitan area, compared to US Census Bureau’s ranking of biggest metro areas by estimated 2017 resident population. Eight US metro areas, which often include multiple cities, are now home to over 100 breweries, Bart’s map shows. But just 4 of those are in the top-10 US metro by population. Notably, that now includes all of top-3, New York City (141 breweries including surrounding NJ, Long Island, upstate cities and towns), LA (146) and Chicago (167). In fact, Chi-town took over top spot of US city with the most breweries (as Chicago Tribune’s Josh Noel wrote this morning). It passed Denver (158), Seattle (153) and San Diego (150), at least according to current brewery count (which obviously changes frequently: see Westword story this week about 8 coming Denver breweries, natch).

In ranks by number of breweries, LA and NYC come next, followed by Portland (139) and Philadelphia (113). So those 8 cities home to 1,167 breweries, or over 15% of all breweries in the US. St. Paul/Minneapolis’ 90 breweries put the upper-midwest metropolis at #9, followed by San Francisco/Oakland’s 82, Boston’s 81 and DC’s 71. Metro area emcompassed by Tampa, St Pete and Clearwater ranks #13 by brewery count with 63, just ahead of Detroit (59) and a trio of metros that all host 55 breweries: Dallas/Ft Worth, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. Among these cities, DFW, DC, Philly and Boston in top-10 metro areas by population. That leaves 3 others with fewer than 50 breweries, all in the south: Houston (34), Miami/Ft Lauderdale (44) and Atlanta (49). That’s just one more than Phoenix (48), the #11 metro area by population, and not much more than Asheville, NC’s 46, or Grand Rapids, MI’s 42, which ain’t close to ranking in top-25 metros. A couple other underperforming urban areas include San Antonio’s 15 breweries, CA’s Riverside-San Bernardino, outside LA with just 19 breweries, and Orlando’s 23 breweries. All told, we counted 2,012 breweries across the country’s 25 biggest metro areas, or well over a quarter of the country’s 7,000+ breweries.

Publishing Info

  • Year: 2018
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue #: 110
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