Hop Take: There Could be 9,000 Breweries in the U.S. by 2021

All posts Beer, Wine & Spirits


The number of U.S. breweries is forecast to swell to 9,200 in the next two years, according to a Brewers Association (BA) report. There are currently more than 7,600 breweries in the U.S.

Using the BA’s brewery database and TTB permit data, BA chief economist Bart Watson predicts nearly 2,000 breweries will open by this time in 2021. He writes that “our two methods of analysis suggest somewhere between 1,900-2,400 openings in the next two years.” But, he adds, “[a]ny forecasting analysis is going to rely on current trend data, and trends can shift pretty quickly.”

In other words, the rate at which breweries are closing and opening may change, but the data shows that many Americans still see opening a brewery as a viable option.

Nine thousand breweries is an alarmingly high number — how can we possibly consume all that beer? — but it could be good for the beer industry overall. The fastest-growing breweries aren’t the ones casting a wide distribution net, they’re the “mom and pop” operations keeping their beer close to home. These are incredible outposts of talent and community, and to these, I say the more the merrier.