The Beer Revolution

The U.S. now has more active breweries than ever before.


In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits drinking.
Miskatonic Brewing Company

I knew we were in the middle of a craft beer revolution, but I didn't realize just how big it had become: Dominic Lynch reports in The Federalist that the number of commercial brewing operations in America has just "surpassed the historical high-water mark of 4,131 active breweries, which was set in 1873." As of 2016, he writes, "75 percent of American adults over 21 live within 10 miles of a local brewery. In hard numbers, that's 231.6 million Americans who have a brewery nearby."

Lynch's article explores both the art and the economics of microbrewing; he writes about once-small brands that have partnered with big companies, and he writes about enterprises that don't care about operating on the Budweiser level "because the only market they're interested in dominating is the one in their backyard." If you're interested at all in the subject, you should read the whole thing.

Bonus links: Small brewers still have to contend with the heavy hand of the corporate state, and Reason has been covering their regulatory struggles for years. For some samples, go here, here, and here. And to read about Jimmy Carter's role in liberating American beermakers—no, I don't mean Billy—go here.