Nearly 950 new breweries opened in the U.S. last year, with the majority of those being brewpubs, the Beer Institute says. The Washington, D.C.-based trade group analyzed permits issued by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and found there were 948 new permits issued and a record-high 3,699 active breweries.
Four states account for one-third of all breweries: California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon, the Beer Institute said.
“We have tracked the industry since our preceding trade association was first founded in 1862, and there’s a story in these numbers," Chris Thorne, vice president of communications at the Beer Institute, said in a prepared statement. "Beer is constantly evolving in the U.S., with more small brewers than ever before, more brands being introduced by national brewers and growing interest in imports."
Ohio saw explosive growth in craft breweries last year, with the majority opening in the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton areas. The Beer Institute analysis shows 112 permits issued in Ohio -- that's 32 more than the previous year.
Ohio is tied for 10th with Illinois behind California (508), Washington (251), Colorado (217), Oregon (208), Michigan (188), Pennsylvania (172), New York (172), Wisconsin (147) and Texas (117). Mississippi has the fewest with six.
The Beer Institute was quick to point out that there is a difference between actual brewers and permits issued. Some brewers have more than one permit. For example, in Ohio, Fat Head's has a permit for its brewpub in North Olmsted and a permit for its production brewery in Middleburg Heights.
The association couldn't immediately provide a breakdown of the 948 new permits issued (production brewery vs. brewpub).
The Beer Institute estimated that the industry paid $49 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2012 and the combined economic impact of brewers, beer distributors, retailers, suppliers and other related industries was $246.5 billion that year.
The group attributed some of the growth to the tax break afforded small brewers. Under the tax structure, small brewers -- those that produce up to 2 million barrels a year -- pay $7 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels. The regular tax rate is $18 per barrel, which is paid by all brewers of more than 2 million barrels, all beer importers regardless of size, and on every barrel produced by small brewers beyond 60,000, the Beer Institute said.
More than 90 percent of breweries today produce less than 60,000 barrels annually, the group said.