Here some news to get your week off to a good start: There were 3,400 American breweries in operation last month, a figure not seen since the 1870s, reports the Brewers Association.

Considering the official number of breweries was zero at the end of Prohibition, that’s an impressive growth over the last 80 years. However, according to BA statistics, the real boom has happened over the course of the last decade: The total number of breweries doubled in the last five years, and in the five years before that it increased 2.5 times, from 601 in 1994 to 1,564 in 1999.


Photo: Brewers Association

Even better, 99% of the breweries are small, independent operations, and BA reports that the craft industry is still growing.

“The majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a local brewery, and with almost 2,000 planning breweries in the BA database, that percentage is only going to climb in the coming years.”

The ratio of breweries to drinkers is perhaps a more significant statistic than the total number of breweries overall. California currently boasts the most breweries of any state at 381, but Oregon leads per capita, with 6.3 breweries for every 100,000 adults.


Brewery statistics for California, above, and Oregon, below. [Photos: Brewers Association]


And though we may have matched post-Civil War America for total number of breweries, the per capita ratio of the 1870s is still a long way off—we would need ten times the amount of breweries we currently have, says the Association.

Challenge accepted.

[via the Brewers Association]