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All 50 States Ranked for Beer

All 50 States Ranked for Beer

An in-depth ranking of all 50 states based on their beer scene, number of breweries, best beers and more.

The United States has come a long way in beer since the beginnings of the craft beer movement starting in the 1970s.

The movement was first concentrated largely in certain parts of the country, but as it has spread over the past decade, breweries have sprouted up everywhere. Ranking all 50 states is not an easy task and any list such as this is sure to foster discussion, as it should!

This ranking is based on several factors, including beers reviewed in The Beer Connoisseur’s Official Review, but also reputable beers and breweries, number of breweries, solid beer cities, vibrant home-brew communities and legacy and pioneer breweries.

The ranking also takes into account the following statistics from the Brewers Association of breweries per capita, beer consumed per adult, number of breweries and economic impact of the brewing industry. (Note: Breweries per capita data represents numbers of breweries per 100,000 21+ adults in any given state.)


50. Mississippi

Sorry Mississippi, your time will come. It might start sooner than later now that homebrewing has been legal for the past six years, which is how so many of America’s small brewers got their start. There’s fewer than 20 breweries in the Magnolia state and it ranks lowest in breweries per capita and gallons produced per adult. But Lazy Magnolia shows even the worst beer state can have incredible brews.


49. West Virginia

There’s not much beer being made in West Virginia. A hot college town like Morgantown does help save some face. The OG Mountain State Brewing helped set a trend, while others have popped up in the last decade or so, like Chestnut Brew Works, Bridge Brew Works and Greenbrier Valley Brewing and its Mothman Black IPA.


48. Alabama

A decade ago, Alabama had fewer than 10 breweries, but like the rest of the states it's starting to climb and is now fostering an industry with more than 40 breweries. In terms of breweries per capita, however, Alabama ranks 49th. But with neighboring states Georgia and Florida kicking strong and Avondale Brewing, Back Forty and Good People Brewing making solid beer in-state, there’s hope for the future.


47. North Dakota

The Dakotas just don’t have much going for them. What breweries do keep the state from dipping lower is the presence of Drekker Brewing and Fargo Brewing. Drekker especially is trying to turn Fargo into a beer destination.


46. South Dakota

Like its northern partner, South Dakota was slow to develop a scene beyond a few older breweries, but now more breweries are starting to show off a bit of brewing prowess with establishments like Hydra Beer Co., Crow Peak Brewing, WoodGrain Brewing (pictured) and Fernson Brewing turning out excellent hop-laden liquid.


45. Rhode Island

Aside from Narragansett’s fun nostalgic taste, Rhode Island is another New England state without much to brag about in terms of beer. Providence is a pretty cool city anchoring the tiny state. Breweries like Buttonwoods Brewery, Apponaug Brewing and Proclamation Ale Company do make good brews.


44. Kansas

Tallgrass Brewing made some ripples in the beer industry, but sadly is no more. Like some of the fellow prairie states, there’s decent beer in the state but finding it can be a challenge; still, breweries like Free State and Defiance are fantastic.


43. Arkansas

Like many of its fellow southern states, Arkansas is lagging behind much of the rest of the nation. Still, like every state, there is some solid beer being brewed in the state, led by Ozark Beer Company. Apple Blossom Brewing, Lost Forty Brewing (pictured) and Fossil Cove Brewing are three breweries making their way to relevancy.


42. Utah

There is some great beer, Epic, Squatters and Uinta, but the strange laws make it hard to do a whole lot when you’re actually in Utah. Outside of Salt Lake City, there aren’t a whole lot of people and therefore, not a lot of beer. That said, Salt Lake City is a pretty cool place with an underrated beer scene.


41. Delaware

Dogfish Head can only do so much. Delaware is a small state, in size and population, so you can only do so much in the second-smallest state in the Union. Dogfish Head’s contributions alone to the beer industry from World Wide Stout to 120 Minute IPA — and 60 and 90 Minute — and so much more helps bump the First State up a few spots.


40. Nebraska

Like most major cities and college towns, Lincoln has a serviceable beer community, as does Omaha. Boiler Brewing, White Elm, Infusion and Upstream all make beer worth a stop on the way through the state.


39. New Hampshire

For being next to Vermont and Maine, little excites about the Granite State in terms of beer. Still, plenty of brewers have decided it might be better to make waves in this underserved state, like Schilling Beer Co., Stoneface Brewing (pictured) and a member of the old guard, Smuttynose Brewing.


38. Connecticut

Like New Hampshire, Connecticut is a bit behind many of its Northeastern counterparts, but it’s still in the region. Breweries like East Rock Brewing, OEC Brewing and Fox Farm Brewery highlight a burgeoning beer scene.


37. South Carolina

Westbrook helped mainstream the Gose style in America, but it’s not as rich in breweries as its Northern sibling. Charleston is a hot tourist city and with it has a brought plenty of good breweries, like Edmund’s Oast, Commonhouse Aleworks, COAST Brewing, Holy City Brewing and Charles Towne Fermentory.


36. Wyoming

Melvin Brewing (pictured) is great and certainly worthy of mentions for a cool brewery in a sparsely populated state. Like Montana, it’s certainly a scenic place to drink beer. Snake River Brewery is the state’s oldest, though The Library in Laramie, Wyoming holds the title of being the state's oldest brewpub.


35. New Jersey

There’s a growing beer scene in New Jersey, with more than 100 breweries in the most urbanized state in the nation. Kane Brewing is probably the most well-known, while Carton, High Point, Magnify and Cape May Brewing are no slouches.


34. Louisiana

Louisiana is a state full of parties, mostly in New Orleans, and it's mostly dominated by flashy cocktails. That said, Abita Brewing has made sure Louisiana isn’t forgotten about in the beer industry, while Great Raft Brewing in Shreveport and Tin Roof Brewing in Baton Rouge offer refuge for beer loves. New Orleans has a few spots worth stopping at, like Brieux Carre Brewing and the eponymous NOLA Brewing.


33. Hawaii

Could possibly be higher just based on being able to drink Maui Brewing and Kona Brewing (pictured) on a beautiful beach. The past 25 years have seen plenty others come on board, but the logistical struggles of getting ingredients — coconut beers are great — to the islands and beer off them makes it tough for any major craft beer explosion.


32. Oklahoma

Prairie Artisan Ales is a nationwide beer player that calls itself home in the Sooner state. Though Oklahoma ranks rather low in breweries per capita (48th) and total breweries (42nd), it has nearly tripled its amount of breweries since 2014 (up from 10 to 27). Bricktown Brewery, founded in Oklahoma in 1992, has grown the state's scene considerably and now has multiple locations across the Midwest.


31. Iowa

A cool scene in Des Moines, led by the awesome beer bar El Bait Shop and Toppling Goliath and its legendary Pseudo Sue, King Sue, Pompeii (as well as the brewery’s inimitable Kentucky Brunch, Assassin and Mornin’ Delight barrel-aged creations) help bolster the state. Des Moines also has the Iowa Tap Room, with 99 taps with all Iowa beer, so there’s plenty to go around.


30. Kentucky

Despite a massive bourbon industry, Lexington helps provide Kentuckians with great beer. West Sixth Brewing and Country Boy Brewing are two phenomenal places to grab a beer in the Bluegrass State and help suggest maybe there’s more to it than just bourbon.


29. Virginia

With a robust 190 craft breweries, which ranks 13th in the nation, Virginia is an underrated beer state. Devils Backbone (pictured) is humming along since it was acquired by AB InBev and keeps hitting nice marketing home runs with team beers for the Redskins and Nationals. Richmond, meanwhile, had a cool enough scene to attract Stone Brewing’s East Coast facility, and Starr Hill Brewery has been making delectable brews for 20 years -- first in Charlottesville then in Crozet.


28. Idaho

Like Washington and Oregon, Idaho is boosted by the presence of a massive expanse of hop fields. Boise is an underrated city, perhaps brought down by the potato perception of the state. Along with a great beer scene in the capital, the celebrity haven of Sun Valley is a pretty cool place to visit with some tasty beers; so you can drink craft beer where Ernest Hemingway once drank. Don’t miss Grand Teton Brewing in Victor, which has been making a variety of interesting styles for more than 30 years.


27. Nevada

Nevada gets a bad rap. For what it lacks in numbers, the quality is superb, including Great Basin Brewing and bustling Reno, further highlighted by Revision and IMBIB. Las Vegas is still dominated by the Strip, and while it doesn’t have the glut of breweries as other major cities, the brewers there do great work — but it takes some time to get to them through the throngs of tourists.


26. Arizona

Arizona Wilderness highlights a great Phoenix beer scene, which also includes place like Huss Brewing, SanTan Brewing and the old company on the block Four Peaks, while Tucson impresses with numbers. The state boasts more than 100 breweries.


25. New Mexico

Santa Fe Brewing (pictured) has been pouring great beer for 30 years, so that’s awesome. Others like La Cumbre provide New Mexico’s status as a low-key great beer state. New Mexico might be among the most underrated states in all aspects and beer is no different.


24. Tennessee

Nashville is one of the hottest tourism cities in the country and it recently hosted the Craft Brewers Conference, which helped showcase an underrated beer city. Bearded Iris might make the most noise and Yazoo is the default beer in Nashville, but there’s plenty more. And beer goes great with live music and barbecue, so you really can’t go wrong.


23. Georgia

SweetWater and Creature Comforts help lead the charge in putting the Southeast on beer maps. Between 420 Extra Pale and Tropicalia, those two breweries are enough to spread the state’s beer. That said, others like Monday Night, ScofflawArches, Wild Leap, Reformation, Riverwatch and Southbound keep the new beers coming out of the state.


22. Maryland

Atlantic Coastal states are a little hit or miss, but Maryland has it going on when it comes to beer. Stillwater Artisanal highlights the state’s awesome breweries, but others like Heavy Seas Beer (pictured), DuClaw Brewing Co. and Flying Dog Brewery are nothing to sneeze at. Plus, like pretty much any other major city now, Baltimore has a formidable scene led by RavenBeer.


21. Montana

Montana has been quietly building one of the best beer states in the country, with Big Sky Brewing Company helping set the standard in the 1990s. With among the most breweries per capita, there’s now an outstanding beer community with breweries like Bozeman Brewing and Great Northern Brewing. Depending on desired drinking atmosphere, Montana’s mountains and rivers also might be the best place to drink in America. Adults 21 and older do drink 7.5 gallons of beer per year in the state, so try and avoid starting a drinking contest in the Treasure state.


20. Florida

Florida could and maybe should be higher, as it is Top 5 in both beer's economic impact (5th overall) and barrels produced per year (4th overall). To its credit, Florida's beer scene has achieved incredible growth in recent years with places like Cigar City, Funky Buddha, Green Bench, 3 Daughters, Motorworks, Tank Brewing and J. Wakefield.


19. Alaska

Alaskans love their beer. It makes sense, it’s dark and cold much of the year and features plenty of breweries that make great beer. With 6.8 breweries per capita and production hitting 12 gallons per adult, the state ranks top 10 in both stats despite only having 36 breweries. Alaska also has well-respected breweries like pioneer Alaskan Brewing and newer names like Anchorage Brewing and Midnight Sun.


18. Indiana

Now that Chicago holds its own, Three Floyds can be safely claimed by Indiana and is one of the most respected breweries in the country, even if its hotness has worn off. Indianapolis is a secret killer beer scene led by the amazing Sun King, while the state also has Upland (pictured).


17. Minnesota

Ever have a Grain Belt? But in seriousness, from August Schell to Surly, Minnesota has plenty more to explore. Minnesota ranks high in pretty much every beer stat and the great scene in the Twin Cities, with breweries like BlackStack, Barrel Theory, Fulton and Wild Mind helping to push it into the Top 20.


16. Texas

Texas ranks 9th in total breweries (251), 3rd in economic impact ($4.5 billion) and 8th in barrels produced (1.15 million). Austin has turned into a fantastic beer city, with the perennial GABF powerhouse Austin Beer Garden Brewing and its fantastic lagers as well as Pedernales and Uncle Billy's. Add in well-known legacy brands like Lone Star and Shiner and with the mix of old and new, beer is a beautiful way to taste through the Lone Star State. Don’t forget about Jester King and Community Beer Co. -- two excellent breweries producing an interesting range of varied styles.


15. Missouri

St. Louis has grown beyond the behemoth of Anheuser-Busch led by Schlafly, while Boulevard brings up the west in Kansas City. The state’s beer industry is further bolstered by beer geek favorites such as Perennial Artisan Ales and Side Project.


14. New York

From Brooklyn Brewery to Ommegang to Suarez Family, the state is loaded with old and new – all making tasty beers. New York City has a wealth of beer to choose from purely from being a global distribution hub, but places like Other Half (pictured), Transmitter, Threes and Interboro have helped turn its own beer scene into a hot spot beyond the older players like Brooklyn and Blue Point. And how could one forget the deliciously inexpensive Genesee Cream Ale.


13. North Carolina

Asheville is a pretty great city with plenty of awesome beer. Add in all the East Coast facilities of national breweries such as Oskar Blues, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium and it’s a haven for beer lovers. Wicked Weed was a major push, while HighlandDuck-Rabbit, Brewery Bhavana, CabarrusBurial, Foothills and Hi-Wire are leading the way as great names in the state.


12. Washington

Washington gets a major bump just for being home to much of the North American hop crop. It just misses the Top 10 despite 369 total breweries, which ranks 2nd overall, and 6.7 breweries per capita, which ranks 7th. The state would be much higher earlier in the craft beer boom with breweries like Red Hook and Pyramid calling the state home. Even now, it’s still a solid beer community with cool spots like Heathen BrewingReuben’s Brews (pictured), Chuckanut Brewery, Pike Brewing and Bale Breaker.


11. Maine

Allagash is one of the best breweries in the country and helped set the stage for a bundle of other breweries pouring delicious funky and sour beers. Newer breweries like Bissell Brothers, Baxter Brewing Co. and Maine Beer Co. are hot on Allagash’s heels, however, with the latter producing some of the hottest beers in the market with Lunch IPA and Dinner Double IPA. With a robust 9.6 breweries per capita (3rd in the nation), Maine just barely misses the Top 10.


10. Wisconsin

Wisconsin loves its beer. Its advanced metrics all hover just outside the top 10 or within the top 10, with its 1.03 million barrels produced per year ranking 10th in the nation. Milwaukee was the original beer city and its current industry doesn’t disappoint. Add in a brewery like New Glarus (pictured) that somehow sells more than 400,000 barrels of beer in its one-state distribution footprint, you begin to wonder if there’s ever enough beer. Lakefront, Central Waters and Ale Asylum are all also making sure Wisconsinites don’t go thirsty. 


9. Illinois

With an even 200 breweries (12th overall) and its beer scene providing $2.6 billion, Illinois is a deserving entrant into the Top 10. Chicago's beer scene has exploded the past five years or so and recently became the city with the most breweries. Goose Island alone holds a lot of historical clout but its status as Chicago’s brewery is challenged by Revolution and Half Acre, with breweries like Off Color (pictured) making incredibly inventive beers.


8. Massachusetts

The Boston Beer Co. brought craft beer to the mainstream and controlled much of the narrative surrounding the industry over the past 30-plus years. Harpoon has kept the beer flowing for years, while TrilliumTree House (pictured), Night Shift and Somerville dominate beer discussions of beer lovers across the country. The rise of hazy, New England-style IPAs has caused the state to double its operating breweries from 61 in 2014 to 129 in 2017. The state's $1.8 billion economic impact of beer ranks 14th and its nearly 590,000 barrels produced per year is 13th. Good company for the Bay State.


7. Pennsylvania

Though Pennsylvania's 2.9 breweries per capita only ranks 19th, its volume numbers are rather impressive. Buoyed by the presence of the biggest and oldest brewery in America, Yuengling, the Keystone State is 1st in barrels produced per year (over 3.7 million) and 2nd in economic impact at nearly $5.8 billion. Earlier craft beer pioneers like Victory, Yards Brewing and Troegs and more recent hot spots like Tired Hands and Bullfrog Brewery (pictured) help keep the state well-respected among beer fans.


6. Ohio

With 225 craft breweries (11th), a $2.6 billion economic impact (7th) and 1.35 million barrels produced per year (5th), Ohio could be regarded as the Midwest's beer powerhouse. Cleveland is a hidden gem of a beer city, led by pioneer Great Lakes Brewing, and supported by hot spots like Market Garden and Fat Head’s. Cincinnati, a once-great beer city, has returned to being a beer production hotspot with the likes of Rhinegeist, Urban Artifact (pictured) and MadTree. Between the solid scenes of Cleveland and Cincinnati, Jackie O’s and Hoppin’ Frog make sure the middle of the state is well represented too.


5. Vermont

Few states have been as influential to the beer industry over the past few years as Vermont. As the nation's leading state in terms of breweries per capita (11.5) as well as gallons consumed per adult (18.9 gallons per year), The Green Mountain State has an eminently impressive beer scene. The Alchemist’s Heady Topper helped set into motion the hottest beer trend of the past five years, hazy IPAs. Lawson’s Finest Liquids (pictured) is always worthy of an excursion, Fiddlehead produces delectable hoppy creations from a tiny brewery along Shelburne Road and Hill Farmstead might possibly be the best brewery in the entire nation. With the nation's second-highest per-capita economic impact for breweries of $666.78 million, Vermont beer fans are spoiled for choice.


4. Colorado

A craft beer juggernaut, Colorado is one of the original beer states. With impressive metrics across the board, (3rd in total breweries, 5th in breweries per capita, 6th in economic impact, 3rd in barrels produced) Colorado is synonymous with craft beer. Plenty of small producers such as 4 Noses, Diebolt, Grist and Mockery call Colorado home, along with the Brewers Association and the best beer festival of them all, the Great American Beer Festival. More important to the scene are the breweries that plot the course for the rest of the industry like Wynkoop, Breckenridge (pictured), Odell and New Belgium as well as mammoth macro producer Coors Brewing Co.


 

3. Michigan

Michigan is Top 10 in economic impact of the state's beer at $2.1 billion, and it just misses Top 10 in breweries per capita (4.5, 11th) and barrels produced per year (874,000, 11th). Two of the nation’s largest, most widely distributed and well-regarded breweries call Michigan home: Founders (pictured) and Bell’s. Add in several amazing beer cities — Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Traverse City and Ann Arbor — and Michigan’s 4th-ranked 330 total breweries make for a superb beer state fed by the Great Lakes. Don't forget about Right Brain Brewery, Arcadia Brewing, Speciation Artisan Ales, Dark HorseJolly Pumpkin, Kuhnhenn, Griffin Claw and Short's Brewing Co., which all make a multitude of tasty brews.


2. Oregon

The Pacific Northwest’s heralded beer scene is typified by the incredible beer scene of Portland, which ranks impressively high in a variety of categories. Oregon is Top 10 in the following statistics: 3rd in economic impact per capita (659.12 million), 4th in breweries per capita (8.5), 6th in gallons consumed per year (10.7), 7th in total breweries (266) and 9th in barrels produced per year (1.078 million). The only stat that sits outside of the Top 10 for Oregon is its $1.98 billion economic impact, which is still quite high and ranks 13th in the country.  The state’s ripe with small producers making some of the nation’s best beers like pFriem Family Brewers (pictured) and De Garde, but also the breweries who helped paved their way like Widmer, Deschutes and Rogue. Other notable smaller producers include: Cascade, Ecliptic, Hopworks Urban Brewery, Breakside, Gigantic, Great Notion and many, many more.


1. California

Few are able to argue the superiority of beer in the state of California. In terms of sheer numbers, the Golden State can churn out beautiful brews from numerous cities up and down the coast. California is the number one state in terms of total breweries with 764, which more than doubles the second-highest state in terms of total breweries (Washington with 369). California's $7.3 billion economic impact is $2 million more than its nearest competitor (Pennsylvania), though Pennsylvania does just eke past California in terms of barrels produced per year (3.7 million vs. 3.2 million). Otherwise, California's statistical dominance alone give it the edge over all other states.

However, it’s more than just mass in The Golden State. California has one of the best beer cities, San Diego; two of the industry’s godfather breweries, Sierra Nevada and Anchor, along with some incredible legacy breweries like North Coast (pictured), Stone, Lagunitas and many more. Don’t forget about arguably the two best and most consistent breweries in America in Firestone Walker and Russian River, as well as an amazing number of other breweries such as Anderson Valley, Drake's, FiftyFifty, Modern Times, Bear Republic, The Rare Barrel, El Segundo, Smog City, Belching Beaver, Alvarado Street, Buffalo Bill's, Barley Forge, Coronado, Fort Point, Garage, Sante Adairius Rustic Ales, Peter B's Brewpub, Casa Agria and Mother Earth Brew Co. that are producing stunning beverages on a day-to-day basis. In terms of beer, California just can’t be beat.


Building a list ranking the 50 states of brewing is incredibly hard. There’s no way to effectively quantify or qualify a state’s beer scene. With more than 7,000 breweries in the U.S., there’s plenty of quality beer in each state as well as exceptionally gifted brewers perfecting their craft.

There’s no easy, catch-all way to distinguish the 46th state from the 35th, the 32nd from the 17th or the 8th from the 1st. As with any subjective list, there’s room for debate and disagreement, so sound off in the comments about what states should be higher or lower. Cheers!

All statistics courtesy of the Brewers Association. All images courtesy of respective breweries, except where noted.

Comments

HOWIE's picture
Wow, no Beechwood, Fieldworks, The Bruery , Alesmith or Taps in Cali?
Peter Gosinya's picture
Why such an old article?
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi guys, Indeed, we could have listed each and every brewery in California, but despite those oversights, we feel we included a nice blend of breweries around the state. This article just came out last month, so it is not particularly old. Thanks for your comments!
alfie57's picture
I cannot believe Greenbush was not included in some of the best breweries in Michigan. They are located in Sawyer, MI and CANNOT be denied! You NEED to check them out. Fantastic recipes and they have become an overnight hit through the years!
wytex's picture
Wrong info, The Library has the 1st brewery license in Wyoming !!

Comments

HOWIE's picture
Wow, no Beechwood, Fieldworks, The Bruery , Alesmith or Taps in Cali?
Peter Gosinya's picture
Why such an old article?
Editorial Dept.'s picture
Hi guys, Indeed, we could have listed each and every brewery in California, but despite those oversights, we feel we included a nice blend of breweries around the state. This article just came out last month, so it is not particularly old. Thanks for your comments!
alfie57's picture
I cannot believe Greenbush was not included in some of the best breweries in Michigan. They are located in Sawyer, MI and CANNOT be denied! You NEED to check them out. Fantastic recipes and they have become an overnight hit through the years!
wytex's picture
Wrong info, The Library has the 1st brewery license in Wyoming !!

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