5 Craft Beer Destinations Off the Beaten Path in Summer 2014
PORTLAND, Ore. ( MainStreet) When small breweries in the U.S. are opening faster than anyone can visit them, just about the entire country is becoming a craft beer vacation destination.
Back in May, we published a craft beer vacation itinerary that spanned the country from sunny San Diego to beer-soaked Cincinnati. Since that time, the Brewers Association craft beer industry group announced that the U.S. just saw its 3,000th brewery open for business. The growth isn't stopping there.
The Beer Institute beer industry lobbying group in Washington, D.C., noted at the beginning of the year that the U.S. had a record-high 3,699 active "permitted breweries" overseen by the Treasury Department's Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. According to Beer Institute analysis, the majority of the 948 permits issued last year went to brewpubs.
The Brewers Association's latest figure surpasses the 2,685 breweries that appeared on the Register of United States Breweries in 1876. If the TTB's permitted breweries all open for business by the end of the year, they'll surpass the peak of 3,286 in 1870.
Despite the fact the U.S. beer industry as a whole is shrinking from 55% of the overall alcohol market to 49% in 2012 the story of small brewers in the country is still one of growth. As overall U.S. beer production dipped 1.9% last year and fell for the fourth time in five years, small brewers saw production increase 17.9% and sales jump 20%, to $14.3 billion. As big brewers including Anheuser-Busch InBev , MolsonCoors and Diageo struggle to maintain market share, smaller brewers such as Boston Beer and the Craft Brew Alliance continue to post gains.
Even the fairly obvious beer locations have been enough to fill up not one list of craft beer vacation destinations , but follow-up lists of both regions and cities where vacationing craft beer drinkers could grab some sampling flights. Besides, why limit yourself to the 10 best brewpubs in America when there are brewpubs in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., worth visiting and a new batch popping up each year?
There are two ways we could go on this: Raise the white flag and admit there's going to be a brewery everywhere you stop on U.S. soil or keep taking reader recommendations and hitting the road. Since the former is no fun, here are five more for the latter:
Des Moines, Iowa
On the surface, beer and Iowa have a modest relationship at best. The state has 40 breweries, making it 21st in the nation and 15th per capita. The 0.4 gallons it produces per drinking-age adult ranks just 43rd overall.