We are king: California outstrips other states in craft beer and breweries


In case you hadn’t realized it, there’s a whole lot of brewing going on in Southern California. Don’t believe it? Read the New Yorker. The magazine has put together a slick interactive map that illustrates the dramatic growth of the craft beer industry.

Based on new data from the Brewers Assn., the map highlights which states have the most craft breweries, which produce the most craft beer and where the biggest and newest breweries are located.

California makes the most craft beer and has the most craft breweries of any state, with 316 breweries combining to produce almost 2.5 million barrels (nearly 79 million gallons) of beer in 2012. California saw an increase in craft beer production of more than 21% in 2012, and the Golden State shows no signs of slowing down.


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Microbrews only account for about 9% of U.S. beer sales, Sunset magazine noted in the October 2012 issue. But while overall beer sales have slumped in recent years, sales of craft beers have grown 110% in the last decade.

Los Angeles is at the center of the craft beer growth in California, with three of the fastest-growing breweries located in Southern California. Golden Road Brewing in Atwater Village was ranked fourth among the 50 fastest-growing breweries in the latest report, and Orange County’s the Bruery ranked 29th, with Hangar 24 in Redlands just ahead on the list at 28th.

California is also home to some of the largest producers of craft beers in the country. The nearly 1 million barrels of beer brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico was second only to the gargantuan Boston Beer Co.'s 2012 production of 2 million-plus barrels. Stone Brewing, Ballast Point, and Karl Strauss in San Diego also make the list of 50 largest craft breweries at Nos. 10, 38 and 45, respectively, while BJ’s Chicago Pizza and Brewery, the chain of brewpubs headquartered in Huntington Beach, takes the 39th-largest spot.

Click through to the New Yorker site to investigate the interactive map and to read its analysis of the data in the “Idea of the Week” column.


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