America’s craft brew craze has yet to sate the thirst of beer drinkers. More breweries continue to pop up, offering a wider range of IPAs, stouts and lagers.
Between 2009 and 2014, the number of breweries nationwide more than doubled, from 1,653 to 3,464, according to the latest data available from the Brewers Association. Between 2013 and 2014, the number of breweries grew by 18.6 percent, largely due to an almost 20 percent boost in the number of craft beer makers. Microbreweries, regional craft makers and brewpubs each experienced double-digit increases over the period.
The Brewers Association expects craft brewers to continue to diversify their offerings this year, expanding pilsners, Session IPAs and blonde and golden ales; sours, especially gose and Berliner weisse; and fruit and other infused styles such as citrus and coffee beers.
“All of this stems from the need for differentiation, the necessity for businesses to offer products that don’t already exist in the market or that offer a ‘better’ version of what already exists,” writes Bart Wilson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, in a recent blog post. “And craft lovers want more variety: 33 percent of craft drinkers said they would purchase more craft if there were ‘more variety.’”
So where are the best places to find the best beer? Livability sought to find the answer by locating cities that were good places to live, produced good beer and had consumers of craft beer. It used its own LivScore, plus consumer data from Esri and RateBeer.com. Each town up for consideration had at least two breweries, and there were no more than three cities per state included.