On the heels of yesterday’s news that the number of breweries in America has reached a historic high point, today the California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) released the news that the number of breweries in the state of California reached 600. The next closest state, Oregon, has less than half of that. Congratulations to all 600!
For me the biggest takeaway is how rapid the number of California breweries doubled. Fritz Maytag bought the Anchor Brewery in 1965, but the first new brewery opened over a decade later, in 1978. That was New Albion. It took until 2012, or 34 years, to reach 300 breweries. Three years later, this month in 2015, there are 600. That means half of the breweries in California are less than three years old, which seems remarkable.
Here’s the press release:
The California Craft Brewers Association (CCBA) today announced another milestone in the growth of local brewing, with more than 600 craft breweries in operation across the state. More breweries call California home than any other state in the nation.
“We continue to celebrate the success of craft beer in California,” said Tom McCormick, executive director of the CCBA. “The Golden State is the birthplace of the American craft beer movement and continues to lead the nation with its committed fans and creative brewers. We have seen a remarkable and growing demand for neighborhood-supported craft breweries and handcrafted, locally produced beers. It’s an exciting time to be a craft beer drinker in California and even more exciting to be a craft brewer.”
The 18 percent increase in operating breweries over that past year represents a return to the localization of beer production. In 2014, an average of two breweries opened every week in California.
Industries associated with craft beer also continue to expand, with additional investment in California-grown ingredients. Breweries throughout the state are planting hops and barley and looking to local farms to source ingredients.
“California’s craft beer drinkers are looking to their neighborhood breweries for local, sustainable, hand-grown, hand-produced, hand-crafted beers,” said Jacob Pressey, owner and brewmaster for Humboldt Regeneration Brewery and Farm and CCBA member. “We are the first California brewery since Prohibition to brew a 100 percent house-grown and malted beer, a milestone we’ve been focused on for the past three years. Across the state we see hop growers, grain growers and craft maltsters set the stage for a sustainable, local-focused industry.”
As the number of craft breweries has increased, so has national recognition for creative styles and classic West Coast IPAs brewed in California. In 2015, California breweries received the largest number of awards at the Great American Beer Festival, contributed hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the state’s economy and donated approximately $11,050,000 to support local and statewide charities, including fundraisers for nonprofits and charitable causes.
“California is the growth epicenter of the craft beer industry,” said Brook Taylor, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “More than 600 California craft breweries generate $6.5 billion in annual revenue, employ thousands of people and contribute to the state’s nation leading job growth. The craft beer industry is emblematic of California – innovative people, creating innovative products and providing new jobs in a rapidly growing industry.”