Have you ever wondered which states have the most breweries? Maybe you want to know which state is most brewery friendly and has the most independent breweries? Whatever the question that led you here is, we have the answers for you!
Finding out where the most (and best) breweries are located across the country can be tricky, often leaving you scrolling through page after page of unhelpful or confusing information, unsure where to turn or who to trust.
But that’s where Learning to Homebrew comes in! We’ve done the hard so that you don’t have to, and have compiled a list of the states with the most (and the fewest) breweries. But that’s not all, as we’re also going to tell you about the most popular and delicious independent breweries in those states because brewery-based knowledge is beer-savvy power.
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How Did We Find The Most Brewery-Friendly States?
So how did we find out what the most brewery-friendly states were? Well, we used Zippias research to see what states had the most breweries, foodandwine.com to see what the most popular beer in every state was, and the homebrewers association, to measure homebrewing memberships and current beer-based trends.
All of this information was then used to rank the number of breweries in each state, the most popular beers, and population density to deliver the definitive list of the most and least, beer-friendly states
The Top Five Brewery-Friendly States
California topped our list with a whopping 907 breweries. It turns out that California isn’t just known for its wine but also beer. California has some of the best independent breweries in the country, which we had to include, beginning with…
Stone Brewing is one of California’s most popular breweries and the ninth largest in the US. You can find their craft beer in major grocery and liquor stores. They are known for their IPA and are the West Coast style IPA pioneers. If you are looking for a new IPA to try, Stone Brewing should be your first port of call
South Lake Brewing Company
Nestled in one of the most romantic spots in California, South Lake Brewing Company is another hugely popular brewery. Their Sierra Nevada taproom is open from 12 – 9 seven days a week, offering delicious IPAs in a range of fruit flavors. Our favorite is their Martelete Sunrise Blood Orange Blonde.
Next up, we have Colorado, which has an impressive 425 breweries. Colorado produces more beer per capita than the other states, making it a must-visit spot for beer lovers. They have some hugely popular breweries specializing in wonderful craft beers and ales.
Our favorite brewery in Colorado is Wynkoop Brewing Company. Colorado’s oldest craft brewery is based in Denver, creating delicious crafts served in its restaurant and bar. This is worth a visit to try a unique beer and enjoy some of their wonderful games.
New York earns a top spot on today’s list with 423 breweries in the state. That’s a lot of breweries to keep the hipsters well-watered with a unique craft beer. Our favorite brewery in New York has to be Big aLICe Brewing Company. They specialize in wild and sour beers, founded by husband and wife Todd Alstrom and Lisa back in 2014.
Their beers are critically acclaimed and award-winning. They are a brewery you must try when you visit New York.
Washington is home to an impressive 423 breweries, tying with New York. Its residents aren’t short of brewery choices, creating some of the best and most vibrant beers you’ll ever try.
If you are visiting, you need to head to Ghost Runners Brewery. Founded in 2012, they have a core selection of handcrafted ales and seasonal exclusives, all of which are brewed using high-quality grains and premium hops that can be sampled in their tasting room or the local bars and restaurants.
Rounding out our top five is Pennsylvania, which is home to an amazing 401 breweries. These breweries offer a range of beers, ales, and IPAs, which means that there’s a beer for every palette in the Keystone state.
Our favorite is Other Half Brewing. Originally based in New York, they opened a brewery in Pennsylvania in 2022 in order to help spread the word about their craft beer cause.
The Least Brewery-Friendly States
Now that we’ve taken you on a whistle-stop tour of the five most brewery-friendly states, we thought it only prudent that we do the same with the five least brewery friendly, and they are…
The state with the fewest breweries is Mississippi, which is home to just fourteen brands of beer. If you’re ever in Mississippi, it’s worth checking out 1817 Brewery in Okolona. The brewery has been making its famous suds for over 200 years and knows what it’s doing. And while you’re there, sample their Bicentennial Ale which, with an ABV of 10%, is packed full of robust, rich flavor.
Next up is North Dakota, which is home to 22 breweries. Fargo Brewing Company is the largest and oldest brewery in the state and they know their way around a fermentation tank and how to make beer-based magic with them. We recommend trying their Wood Chipper IPA, as it’s a local and brewery favorite.
Hawaii doesn’t have a huge number of breweries; there are just 24 spread across the islands. We love the Kona Brewing Company, which crafts beers with classic Hawaiian ingredients like passionfruit and Kona coffee. You won’t taste anything like their beer anywhere else in the world, making it a one-of-a-kind stop for hop devotees everywhere.
Delaware takes the fourth spot on our list, with just 27 breweries. Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant is a firm favorite in Delaware. Enjoy a delicious meal and sample one of their IPAs, which they use to make a delicious IPA sriracha ranch that you have to try on one of their mouth-watering turkey burgers.
Finally, there’s West Virginia, which has a relatively meager 28 breweries. Although this isn’t a large number of breweries, each and every one of them is fantastic and unique, but the cream of the hop-based crop has to be North End Tavern and Brewery, which has been creating all sorts of magnificent craft beers for over twenty years, that includes a range of core staples and an ever-rotating menu of exciting new brews.
If you’re interested in viewing the full data set that we drew our facts and figures from, you can find it here.
And there you have it, the states with the most breweries are California, Colorado, New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
Each of these states is home to over 400 breweries, ensuring that you are never far away from a unique and delicious IPA, Tripel, APA, or Imperial Stout that has been crafted and brewed with care, more than a little know-how, and barrels full of passion.