There are 5,000 breweries in America today, and at the rate the industry is growing, there might be nearly 6,000 by this point next year. Some of these breweries are already household names—the Sam Adams and Sierra Nevadas—stocked in every supermarket in the country. Others are mainly known by people who “drink good beer,” perhaps your Firestone Walkers and Dogfish Heads of the world. And then there’s the more cultish breweries, the Hill Farmsteads and Russian Rivers, where you need to have some sort of geek tendencies to follow their trail.
Plenty of ink has been spilled about the aforementioned players in the beer world, but today’s challenge is predicting what will be the next wave of breweries to bust out in the 2017 calendar year and start driving chatter outside of their home markets. You know, those breweries that will soon have out-of-towners begging locals, “Couldja’ throw some ________ cans in a box and FedEx ‘em to me?!”
Most of the breweries I’m forecasting break-out status for in the next 365 days tap into the current zeitgest of the beer world. No surprise, but in many cases that means Northeast-style IPAs—and the juicier the better. (The word “Juice” is often even in their name.) But these breweries aren't simply parroting trends and playing copycat. There is also plenty of interesting barrel aging and yeast experimentation going on amongst this crop. Of course, simply cramming unique fruits and culinary adjuncts into a beer is always a good way to garner appreciation from fans.
These new breweries—all opened within the last, oh, 18 months—aren’t national names yet, but may very well be by the time Mariah Carey is flubbing her lines at New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2018.
Here are 10 breweries primed to breakout in 2017.