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There are 4,656 breweries operating in the U.S.

As of June 30th, the United States is rocking a solid 4,656 breweries. That’s an increase of 917 breweries over the previous year. That growth accounts for an 8% increase overall in craft beer production.

Before you start typing the word bubble, fad, or trend (easy there, Pokemon player…), the Brewer’s Association’s chief economist Bart Watson has something to say about market saturation.

“While the craft brewing industry is entering a period of maturation, most markets are not near saturation …. Production growth of small and independent craft brewers continues to be one of the main bright spots for domestic beer in the U.S. Even in a more competitive market, for the vast majority of small and independent brewers, opportunities still exist.”

Every time this conversation has come up over the past 8 years of Beer Street Journal, the stats continue to show strong brewery growth as well as beer consumption. Watson goes on to mention some of the same soundbites we’ve heard when there were 2,000, 3,000, and now close to 5,000 breweries (and that’s a good thing):

“The opening rate compared to closing rate for breweries remains incredibly strong, with a historic number of breweries operating in the U.S.,”

Since we are talking about small and independent breweries, aka craft breweries, their growth is due to the ever constant growing consumer demand for beer. As far was we’re concerned, that hasn’t slowed down at all. As we say around here – “Keep drinking.”

More positive news. Those 4,656 breweries contribute 121,843 full-time and part-time jobs to the U.S. economy.

As of June 30th, there are 2,200 breweries in planning, according the Brewer’s Association.

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