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Top Craft Beer States

May 12, 2013

I Drink Local BeerA few weeks ago, my Twitter feed was filled with re-tweets of USA Today’s article listing the 10 Best Craft Brew States. Many people were excited that their state made the list. I was happy that my home state, Washington, was number two, finally getting some national respect.

The problem with the article was that the list was solely based on the number of Craft Breweries per state. True that the number of craft breweries is a factor in determining the best craft beer states, but what about breweries per capita, craft beer consumption, history, and quality? It is a difficult assignment, but with some research and ground rules you could probably do a little bit better.

When articles like this are posted, I skip right to the comments to see the backlash. In this case, people from states that did not make the list chirped in to say why their state should be listed, how their state is the best and that the writer doesn’t know anything. The commentary got quite comical and a little mean. I loved the ones that said “…where is North Carolina?”, that had responses that said “north of South Carolina”.

I used to get riled up at lists like this too since I have a strong bias for the Pacific Northwest. Lucky for me, the PNW was at the forefront of the movement in the 80’s and I have not known a time when craft beer wasn’t available (At least for the 21 years I’ve been of drinking age). Call me provincial, but if Washington, Oregon, Seattle or Portland, are absent from a “Best Beer States/Cities” list, I discount it.

Lately I’ve had a change of tune. It’s just exciting to see how many states, cities, and regions are taking claim to the best craft beer. How awesome is it that that craft beer has spread across the country?  People all over this great nation now have great local beer to drink, and they too are proud to support their breweries. It’s amazing! My motto is Traveling Globally, Drinking Locally. Visiting near and far away places to try the local beers, preferably fresh from the source, is my passion. It’s getting so easy to do now.  I love it!

To poke a little fun, I decided to do my own listing of the best craft beer states, that is completely random. What the heck. Now everyone can complain. It’s a double random list that I prepared with the help of I first took a list of the states, plus Washington DC, and randomized it, and then I created a 1-51 random sequence, placed them in a spreadsheet, and then sorted starting with one.

The randomness gods have spoken and here is the list. It is best enjoyed while drinking your favorite craft beer. I think a few of the states are fairly accurate, Colorado would be in my top 4, but Oregon at 45 is comical. North Dakota, who knew?

  1. Maryland
  2. North Dakota
  3. New York
  4. Colorado
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Indiana
  7. Ohio
  8. Oklahoma
  9. New Mexico
  10. California
  11. Washington
  12. Michigan
  13. Alabama
  14. Alaska
  15. New Hampshire
  16. Kentucky
  17. Connecticut
  18. Florida
  19. Minnesota
  20. Mississippi
  21. Georgia
  22. Nebraska
  23. Louisiana
  24. Rhode Island
  25. Arizona
  26. Texas
  27. Pennsylvania
  28. Montana
  29. Wisconsin
  30. Arkansas
  31. New Jersey
  32. Massachusetts
  33. Nevada
  34. South Carolina
  35. Tennessee
  36. Delaware
  37. North Carolina
  38. Maine
  39. Missouri
  40. Vermont
  41. Idaho
  42. Iowa
  43. Illinois
  44. Hawaii
  45. Oregon
  46. Wyoming
  47. Virginia
  48. South Dakota
  49. Kansas
  50. Utah
  51. West Virginia

Have fun, relax, and be happy that we have so many wonderful beers to choose from in our great nation.



6 Comments leave one →
  1. Dan Hammack permalink
    July 13, 2013 10:05 am

    I live in Seattle but drink almost no Washington beers because Washington beers have become boring with few rating highly on ratebeer or beeradvocate. They have become boring because Seattle has become mired down in IPA’s to the detriment of experimentation with other styles. Why Portland and even California are experimenting with sours, farmhouse ales, and other Belgian styles for example, Seattle keeps turning out the same old IPA’s, ambers, porters and stouts, nothing interesting.

    • DraughtE permalink*
      October 16, 2013 8:14 pm

      Dan, I agree that Seattle beer did get stale.However , it seems the new generation of breweries are changing this. I’m thinking of Fremont, Schooner Exact, Epic, etc…

      Cheers, and thanks for stopping by .


  2. October 3, 2013 2:24 pm

    North Dakota may not be as random a choice as you think. The Beer Institute released a list of the states with the highest beer consumption per capita and guess who was #1?

    Click to access 2012_Beer_Consumption_By_State.pdf

    • DraughtE permalink*
      October 16, 2013 8:09 pm

      Jim , cheers, and thanks for stopping by. Very good point, but how much of that is craft beer?


  3. Ethan Epstein permalink
    August 17, 2016 10:46 am

    DC deserves a top 5 spot.

    • DraughtE permalink*
      August 17, 2016 11:03 am

      The randomness gods agreed!

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