In order to get a better idea about how these breweries/brewpubs are patterned throughout the US, I decided to calculate out the breweries per capita numbers for each state – the number of brewing establishment per 100,000 residents. By taking the number of breweries in each state and dividing it out by the 2009 US Consensus estimates, I arrived at the data presented below. (It should be noted that the term ‘brewery’ in this post will refer to both breweries and brewpubs, and the term ‘state’ refers to the 50 US states plus the District of Columbia)
While this ‘Per Capita’ method has its faults (for example, states with smaller populations get a positive bias), by normalizing the data in such a fashion, it makes it possible to gauge the presence of breweries within a particular state, independent of population. While Vermont (#1) and Alaska (#5) have small populations (less than 1 million residents), these states have between three and four times as many breweries/brewpubs per capita than such venerated state as California (#18). This means that establishments in Vermont and Alaska have one-third to one-quarter of the local resources (patrons, employees, supplies, etc) as many other states, but these brewing operations are still able to thrive. Why is this? Probably because of strong, accommodating communities within the states that embrace beer culture - states like Oregon (#2), Colorado (#6), and Washington (#8) certainly exemplify this.
Of course, these data have to be taken with a proverbial grain of malt. Are these data definitive in sorting out which states have the best beer cultures in the US? Of course not. It’s merely another way to slice the information and examine how different parts of the country foster and support brewery-based businesses. If nothing else, its just plain fun to sift through stats looking at which states beat which states.
Ok, enough long-winded musing - here’s the data…
Top 5 ‘Brewery Per Capita’ States for 2009
1. Vermont (#1) 2.734 breweries per 100,000 residents
2. Oregon (#2) 2.640 breweries per 100,000 residents
3. Montana (#3) 2.564 breweries per 100,000 residents
4. Maine (#4) 2.503 breweries per 100,000 residents
5. Alaska (#5) 2.148 breweries per 100,000 residents
Worst 5 ‘Brewery Per Capita’ States for 2009
1. Mississippi (#51) 0.034 breweries per 100,000 residents
2. Alabama (#50) 0.085 breweries per 100,000 residents
3. Arkansas (#49) 0.138 breweries per 100,000 residents
4. Kentucky (#48) 0.139 breweries per 100,000 residents
5. North Dakota (#47) 0.155 breweries per 100,000 residents
If one compares the per capita rates from 2009 with those of 2008, there is some jockeying of the positions. The top 10 states see only one change - Oregon (#2), which clawed up and flip-flopped positions with Montana (#3). The bigger changes can be seen further back in the pack.
Biggest Positive Movers from 2008 to 2009
1. Indiana (up to #20 in 2009 from #27 in 2008)
2. West Virginia (up to #37 in 2009 from #44 in 2008)
3. North Carolina (up to #27 in 2009 from #32 in 2008)
Biggest Negative Movers from 2008 to 2009
1. Kansas (down to #30 in 2009 from #24 in 2008)
2. Nevada (down to #19 in 2009 from #14 in 2008)
3. South Carolina (down to #39 in 2009 from #35 in 2008)
4. Arkansas (down to #49 in 2009 from #45 in 2008)
And on a personal note, I’m very pleased to see that Lug Wrench’s ‘facility’ in Rhode Island (#31) beat out the Lug Wrench ‘facility’ in Virginia (#34). So how about a big “neener neener neener” to you folks down in Virginia, Tom. : )
|2009 Rank||2008 Rank||State||Breweries/|
|2009 State Population||Breweries Per 100,000|
|29||29||Distr. of Columbia||3||599,657||0.500|
If you’ve braved it all the way down to the bottom of this post, please take a moment and let us know how your state did.
“The pub has always been much more than just a tavern – it is a clubhouse, a meeting place, a community center.”
-Anthony Dias Blue