Craft beer is on a rocket ship to the stars at the moment. 2016 saw a record sales increase to a total of $23.5 billion, meaning craft beer now accounts for 22 percent of the overall American beer market. Craft breweries brewed 24.6 million barrels in 2016. To put that into real numbers, at 3,968 ounces per barrel (31 gallons), that’s 8,134,400,000 12 oz. cans of beer. That’s more than one craft beer for every single living human being on the planet (with a few hundred million to spare) being made in America last year.
So, yeah, we like to drink beer. But where are the best places to drink it? The people over at Infogroup wanted an answer to that question. So they looked into their own business database of 15 million records to “identify which metro areas, regardless of population, are home to the most beer retailers and breweries, including craft and microbreweries.” After that, they ranked US cities by “their concentration of beer-related businesses per 10,000 residents.” Basically, they found the cities where you’ll be most awash in beer and beer culture. Interestingly, most of the cities (towns really) were the more out of the way places — where low populations celebrate a big beer scene.
Here are the top ten places to live if you love beer and want it all around you all the time.
10. MOUNT VERNON, WA
9. MANSFIELD, OH
Halfway between Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio you’ll find the town of Mansfield. It’s a small town of less than 50,000 people with burgeoning craft brewery scene.
8. CORVALLIS, OR
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We just wrapped up our final sensory panel before #BourbonMonth, and we’re digging where these beers have landed as we near release. #SuperNebula has matured beautifully after blending, featuring an expressive blend of caramelly and roasty malt, dried fruit, tobacco, bourbon, and barrel char. Its variations each layer on nuanced character from their featured adjuncts, including pronounced coffee aroma and maple flavor in Breakfast with Woodford, and a delightfully floral and earthy vanilla character in Double Chocolate Vanilla Bean. Meanwhile, Kriek’s blend deftly balances acidity, barrel character, and bright cherry aroma and flavor. It’s precisely what we envisioned for this beer. Pick up your bottles this weekend at our Tap Room! #Block15 #Brewing #OregonBeer #ArtisanBeer #CraftBeer #BarrelAged #BarrelAgedBeer #ImperialStout #Kriek #WildBeer #SourBeer #SourPower
Far down the (A-O!) river from Portland you’ll find Corvallis. It’s another small town with a big love for beer — there are ten breweries in the town. That pretty much means there’s a brewery for every 5,000 people, which is a lot of beer.
7. BURLINGTON, VT
Ah, Vermont, the land of cheese, ice cream, Bernie Sanders, and a hell of a lot a brews. Burlington is another town that hits right around the 40-50,000 residents mark with (in this case) nine local craft breweries — we’re starting to see a trend here.
6. GREAT FALLS, MT
Way out west where the plains meet the Rocky Mountains along the long and winding Missouri River you’ll find the outpost burg of Great Falls. The former frontier town has three local craft breweries to choose from before you head out into the wild blue yonder of Montana’s expansive wilderness for a little adventure.
5. NILES-BENTON HARBOR, MI
This Great Lake town on Benton Harbor has 10,000 denizens and three breweries to choose from with loads more in the area, making it one of the more dense areas for beer in the USA. With so many breweries to choose from in a relatively small and scenic area, it makes for a great weekend road trip, if you’re due for a vacay.
4. FORT COLLINS, CO
This one probably makes a fair amount of sense with one of the wider known craft brews making its home in the city. New Belgium is one of the bigger craft beers available in the USA (and worldwide), so its no surprise that the town they call home is a great beer city.
3. ASHEVILLE, NC
And look at what’s next on the list, New Belgium’s second home. Do they know how to pick great beer towns to open breweries in, or what? Asheville is a great beer city that’s home to a over 20 microbreweries and a college craft beer program at AB Tech that trains up anyone who wants to become a brewer.
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After graduating from AB Tech's Brewing & Distillation Program, Sarah Gulotta went from a part-time packaging and tour guide position to full-time production brewer in under 2 years. Well done Sarah! #internationalwomensday #iwd2017 #girlsrule #girlpower #girlgang #avlbeer #ncbeer #828isgreat #hiwirebrewing
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Pop into our South Slope Taproom & you'll find two summer ready small-batch brews, a Mosaic Wheat (4.7%) & the Summertime Session Ale (4.6%) modeled here by the beautiful & endlessly talented, Zach of The Hermit Kings aka one of Asheville's premier woodworkers. #summer #summervibes #sessionale #wheatbeer #smallbatch #avlbeer #craftbeer #sunshine #southslope #woodworking #hiwirebrewing #beardsofinstagram
2. BOULDER, CO
Back in Colorado we find the city of Boulder nestled between the Rockies and the plains. It’s a perfect spot for making beer. The Rockies provide all that Rocky Mountain fresh water and the plains grow all the grains and hops you’ll ever need.
1. BEND, OR
Bend is situated on the high desert in central Oregon with scrub brush and juniper stretching east and the Cascade volcanoes creating a massive wall to the west. The small town on the Deschutes River has a dozen microbreweries within the city and boast the fantastic (and aptly named) Deschutes Brewery.