From the blog 5 of the Best Locations to Open a Brewery
Choosing a great place to open a brewery depends on building a business in a community that will support your brand.
“It’s fun to dream about building a destination brewery where people line up for hours to buy cans, or a brewery with national or even international distribution,” says Kenny Gould, founder of HopCulture.com. “However, it makes more financial sense to build a business on serving a local community and taking any publicity and press as an unexpected bonus.”
In 2017, the craft brewing industry contributed $76.2 billion to the U.S. economy and more than 500,000 jobs, according to the Brewers Association.
California was the top contributor to that boom, with an output of $8.2 billion in sales. Pennsylvania, Texas, New York and Florida rounded out the top five. But those states are not the only great places to open a brewery.
To come up with a list of some of the best places to open a brewery, we used Hop Culture’s 2018 ranking of the best beer cities. These cities all have creative breweries making consistent beer in communities that support the breweries and the industry as a whole.
Here are some of the best locations to open a brewery:
It’s no surprise that Seattle made the list. As Hop Culture notes, the Pacific Northwest is a hotbed for craft beer culture. There were 174 breweries and growing in the Emerald City in 2018.
Washington breweries contributed $1.76 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017, according to the Brewers Association.
Inspiration: Hop Culture suggests visiting Reuben’s Brews, Cloudburst Brewing, Holy Mountain Brewing, Floodlands Brewing and Black Heron Lounge.
2. New York, New York
The beer culture in New York is booming. And according to Hop Culture, that’s at least partially due to the restaurant community’s ability to promote the great beer that’s being brewed. It helps that the Big Apple is close in proximity to other well-known beer havens, like Hudson Valley.
New York breweries contributed $4.1 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017, according to the Brewers Association.
Inspiration: Other Half Brewing, Threes Brewing, and Finback Brewery are all breweries worth a visit, according to Hop Culture.
3. Minneapolis, Minnesota
It isn’t difficult to find a brewery in Minnesota — thirty of them opened up in 2017 alone, Hop Culture says. The city is even home to the Minnesota Craft Beer Festival.
Minnesota breweries contributed $2.1 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017, according to the Brewers Association.
Inspiration: Hop Culture suggest checking out Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Bauhuas Brew Labs and Dangerous Man Brewing Co.
4. Portland, Maine
Fourth on Hop Culture’s list is Portland, Maine, the city with the most craft breweries per capita in the U.S., according to Statista. The city also made SmartAsset’s 2015 list of the best cities for beer drinkers.
Maine’s breweries contributed just $613 million to the U.S. economy in 2017, according to the Brewers Association. But it’s a state with just over 1.3 million residents, quite a bit smaller than New York, Minnesota and Washington.
Inspiration: Check out Oxbow Blending & Bottling, Bissell Brothers and Allagash Brewing Co.
5. The Triangle (Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill), North Carolina
Asheville often gets singled out as North Carolina’s beer capital, but the area commonly known as “The Triangle” (Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill) shouldn’t be overlooked. Hop Culture consistently ranks it as one of the best places for brew. And according to Craft Beer and Brewing, the community welcomes independent breweries.
“Portland, Maine, has an outsized list of incredible breweries, but also a host of independent restaurants that serve craft beer, a slew of brew tours and busses promoting craft beer education, and surrounding agri- and aquaculture that provides the industry with fresh ingredients and raw materials, ” says Gould.
North Carolina breweries contributed $2.2 billion to the U.S. economy in 2017, according to the Brewers Association.
Inspiration: Stop by Brewery Bhavana, Trophy Brewing and Bond Brothers Beer Co., according to Hop Culture. In addition, Gould says that lately the Hop Culture team has been wowed by the folks at Ancillary* Fermentation, a creative side project from Whit Baker and Sean McKinney of Bond Brothers Brewing in The Triangle.
While most breweries are building taprooms or selling their beer through retail distribution, Baker and McKinney have built a “pop-up” brewery that releases beer periodically, at a new location each time, says Gould. He says that each release is a unique experience, a community gathering and a chance to try some awesome beer.
When it comes to choosing a city to open a brewery, community is the most important theme.
“Any city has the potential to become a beer city, as long as it has a strong community of people who support local business,” says Gould.
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