While many believe that the craft beer phenomenon is on a downward trend, that hasn’t seemed to stop the craft brewery boom that continues to sweep across the United States. From sprawling downtown warehouses to hyper-local rural watering holes, it seems that almost everywhere you turn there’s a craft brewery offering a unique take on beer – and sometimes delicious faire as well.
According to the Brewers Association for Small and Independent Craft Brewers, the total number of breweries throughout the country was 6,372 in 2017, which is the highest it’s ever been. Of those 6,372, 202 are regional, 3,812 are microbreweries and 2,252 are considered brewpubs. With so many choices out there, it might be difficult to sift through it all, to find a hot new local brewery, or even just get out of the same old go-to beer rut. But don’t worry, the Brewers Association has you coved. Recently, the group released the 50 fastest growing breweries in the U.S., claiming that the median size of the breweries featured was 963 barrels – up 679 from the year before – and that the companies on the list consisted of 40 microbreweries, eight brewpubs and two regional craft breweries.
Of course, there were several ground rules when it came to determining these 50 breweries: all of the production had to be done at their own facilities, they had to have opened before the last day of 2015, they had to have data from the last three years and only breweries that completed the Brewers Association’s annual Beer Industry Production Survey would be considered in this analysis. That last section means breweries that offered staff estimates or data from state tax reports wouldn’t be factored into the data.
Topping the list, as the fastest growing brewery last year, is CraftRoots Brewing Co. – a Milford, Massachusetts-based company, founded in 2014 as a grassroots concept by Maureen Fabry. With more than 20 beers listed on its website, CraftRoots appears to combine the traditional offerings such as the standard Blonde Ale and New England IPA, referred to as the “Full Nelson”, with other more flavorful creations, like a raspberry beer as well as a strawberry blonde ale. Milford is located a little under two hours southwest of Boston, so this seven-barrel brewery can focus more on the locals than city folk.
Some other notable growing breweries included No. 3 Crowded Castle Brewing Co. in the Philadelphia suburbs, No. 6 Draper Brewing in western Oregon, No. 16 Florida Keys Brewing Co. in southernmost Florida and No. 40 Beaver Island Brewing Co. in the Minneapolis suburbs. You can check out the full list of last year’s fastest growing breweries in the demographic below: