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The U.S. is now home to over 5,000 breweries

Over 5,000 breweries

Today is anniversary of Repeal Day. The official end to Prohibition, and the 83 year climb back to a drinking nation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew legalizing alcohol again in the United States would create much needed jobs in the era of the Great Depression. America is obviously thirsty.

In the 1870’s, there were over 4,000 breweries operating in the United States. Those fun days were short lived. Prior to the start of Prohibition, that number had fallen under 700.

In 1933 once America was “wet” again, 300 breweries managed to survive.

As of today, America’s love of beer is back in full force. The United States is now home to 5,005 breweries, according the Brewer’s Association. That’s double digit growth every year.

A few other motivational drinking nuggets. 

India pale ale still reigns supreme. America loves its hops, and it shows. The fastest moving sub-class of IPAs? Just add fruit. Sorry haters. Fruited IPAs are here to stay. Take a deep breath. That’s not the worst thing that ever happened to you.

There rest of the world wants our beer too. The small/craft segment of brewers exported 16% of their production volume to other countries. That’s $116 million in cash.

Beer is actually pretty bi-partisan. Both sides of the aisle in the Capitol Building, almost half of U.S. Senators, support  the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The act seeks to recalibrate the current federal excise tax structure for the nation’s brewers and reform some pretty restrictive laws regulating America’s brewing industry.

Brew your own.

There are nearly 1.2 million people home brewing in the United States. That’s more than double the population of Delaware, Wyoming, Vermont, or Washington D.C.  It probably helps that home brewing is finally legal in all 50 states. Big hi-five to President Jimmy Carter for getting that started.

Here comes the “bubble” talk again. 

Every time the Brewer’s Association releases brewery growth numbers, someone always drops the “bubble is going to burst” comment into the conversation.  Here’s our take. Small/Craft breweries make up vast majority of that 5,005 breweries. In contrast, those 5,000 breweries account for around 20% of a $106 billion dollar industry. It may be an over simplification, but it seems to us a bubble only exists if you believe craft beer is capped out at that 20% of the industry.

Time will tell. In the meantime, cheers to the 5,000 milestone. America truly deserves a beer.

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