Visualizing Breweries Per Capita

Related to yesterday’s post, here is a little context on where Alabama currently stands with regard to the number of residents per brewery. Sure California has over ten times as many breweries as Alabama, but it also has nearly ten times as many people. On a per capita basis, Alabama is not massively trailing the country’s leading state for craft brewing. Yet we’re way behind places like Oregon and Colorado, and way ahead of Georgia and Mississippi.

I chose the states in the graph to add useful context. Throw in a few of the states with the most advanced craft beer culture and a few immediate Southeastern neighbors. Both comparisons are helpful.

ScreenHunter_09 May. 21 15.08

It seems to me the biggest takeaway from this is that Alabama is now ahead of the curve in the Southeast, but there’s no reason to think we are completely saturated. It’s all about the pace of growth. We’re not yet at a point where we can sustain 24K residents per brewery. But in 30 years, who knows?

Below is the raw data. I tried to get information as up-to-date as possible, but that’s not always easy. I also added in the year of the opening of the oldest brewery in each state, to show how long different states have been cultivating their respective brewing industries. While Alabama is in the middle of the pack on breweries per capita, we have the youngest brewing industry on the chart. So we’ve had the most rapid growth. Mississippi is so far behind the curve I included their breweries-in-planning.

Alabama

  • Breweries: 28 (May 2014)
  • Population: 4.833 million (2013 est.)
  • Residents per Brewery: 172,607
  • Year Oldest Operating Brewery Opened: 2008

Oregon

  • Breweries: 166 (2014)
  • Population: 3.899 million (2012)
  • Residents per Brewery: 23,487
  • Year Oldest Operating Brewery Opened: 1984

California

  • Breweries: 312 (2012)
  • Population: 38.04 million (2012)
  • Residents per Brewery:  121,923
  • Year Oldest Operating Brewery Opened: 1980 (excluding Anchor, a very unique case)

Colorado

  • Breweries: 217 (2013)
  • Population: 5.268 million (2013 est.)
  • Residents per Brewery:  24,276
  • Year Oldest Operating Brewery Opened: 1979

North Carolina

  • Breweries: 103 (2014)
  • Population: 9.848 million (2013 est.)
  • Residents per Brewery: 95,611
  • Year Oldest Operating Brewery Opened: 1986

Mississippi

  • Breweries: 7 (2014)
  • Population: 2.985 million (2012)
  • Residents per Brewery: 426,428
  • Year Oldest Operating Brewery Opened: 2003

Georgia

  • Breweries: 30 (2014)
  • Population: 9.992 million (2013 est.)
  • Residents per Brewery: 333,066
  • Year Oldest Operating Brewery Opened: 1993

Tennessee

  • Breweries: 36 (2014)
  • Population: 6.495 million (2013 est.)
  • Residents per Brewery: 180,416
  • Year Oldest Operating Brewery Opened: 2003

 

 

 

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3 comments

    1. I would agree volume production is the more important (and difficult to obtain) number. But number of breweries is certainly something useful to look at. Each brewery is an individual business with separate equipment and separate sunk costs. And in many cases these days, each has its own taproom making it like a bar. Each has its own set of beers competing for the same tap handles at restaurants and bars and the same shelf space at retailers.

      It’s a lot easier for one brewery to sell 10,000 bbls of beer in its hometown than for 20 breweries to each sell 500 bbls in a shared hometown.

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