The Brewers Association announced Wednesday that there are now more than 3,000 breweries operating in the U.S. -- likely the first time the country has topped that number since the 1870s.
"What does 3,000 breweries mean?" Brewers Association chief economist Bart Watson wrote on the group's website. "For one, it represents a return to the localization of beer production, with almost 99 percent of the 3,040 breweries being small and independent. 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.
"Secondly, it means that competition continues to increase, and that brewers will need to further differentiate and focus on quality if they are going to succeed in a crowded marketplace."
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