Guess Which State Has the Best Selection of Craft Beers?

When it comes to craft beer, more is definitely more, especially when it comes to the variety of brews available where we live.  A bigger selection means more new beers to try, a more educated palate and…uh…a more better life as a beer geek.

I’ve come across a spreadsheet put together by a fella who goes by the handle “nickd717” on RateBeer and Beer Advocate. He has endeavored to create a spreadsheet which shows how many American craft breweries sell their beers in each state of the Union.

Want to know if you can get New Holland’s stuff in Indiana?  Nick’s got you covered (the answer is yes, BTW).  It looks like Nick got his info from beer geeks around the country, so take these finding with a grain of “open source” salt. Nevertheless, the results are pretty interesting….

Especially in you live in New Jersey like I do, which has the best selection in the country (flag pictured above – is that the horse’s head from the Godfather?!).  Allow me to gloat also point out that Idaho is #36.  Sorry Don. 🙂

Here’s what Nick has as of 3/30/11:

State ranks and total number of breweries available
1    New Jersey    231
2    Pennsylvania    225
3    New York    211
4    Virginia    210
5    Maryland    200
6    Massachusetts    191
7    Washington DC    185
8    North Carolina    184
9    Ohio    184
10    California    175
11    Illinois    172
12    Wisconsin    150
13    Rhode Island    143
14    South Carolina    139
15    Oregon    137
16    Arizona    134
17    Florida    134
18    Georgia    133
19    Washington    133
20    Minnesota    123
21    Indiana    120
22    Missouri    119
23    Colorado    113
24    Texas    112
25    Kansas    109
26    Michigan    109
27    Kentucky    106
28    Tennessee    106
29    Connecticut    102
30    Alabama    97
31    Delaware    95
32    Nebraska    90
33    Maine    87
34    Iowa    79
35    Louisiana    79
36    Idaho    78
37    Nevada    76
38    Vermont    75
39    Arkansas    67
40    New Hampshire    67
41    Oklahoma    64
42    New Mexico    60
43    Alaska    58
44    Montana    54
45    Wyoming    52
46    Utah    51
47    South Dakota    48
48    Hawaii    42
49    West Virginia    40
50    Mississippi    36
51    North Dakota    35

There are 51 places on the list because Nick respected the wishes of our founding fathers and kept Washington D.C. as it’s own separate entity.  The guy’s a patriot!

He eventually wants to make this data into a website, which I think would be pretty cool, making it easy for folks to see what breweries are available in their state at any given time.  In the meantime, click over to Nick’s spreadsheet to see what hidden gems might be available in your state (there are tabs on the bottom to access additional charts).  And if you see some info there that needs updating, drop Nick a line on Beer Advocate or RateBeer so he can make any necessary adjustments.

I’d also like to give a shout out to Mike over at STL Hops where I found this and several other really cool web tools for beer geeks.  If you’re in and around the St. Louis area, you should be reading his stuff for sure. Thanks, Mike!




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41 Comments on “Guess Which State Has the Best Selection of Craft Beers?”

  1. June 16, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    DC should be #0 since they have no restrictions on what they can import and what they can sell, ABV-wise.

    BTW why is my avatar a 4-bit penis? WTF?

    • June 16, 2011 at 10:43 am #

      I should have pointed out that quantity and quality are two different things, but I figured that would happen down here in the comments.

      And I don’t know about your avatar. You might want to create a Gravatar of your own ( ) because it looks like the Internet thinks you’re a dick. 😉

    • June 16, 2011 at 11:43 am #

      BTW, if it makes you feel batter, it looks to be at least 6 bits. 🙂

    • June 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

      Because 8-bit would’ve been too graphic?

      • June 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

        He probably tells his dates it’s 8 bit…

        • June 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

          You have to measure from the base of the avatar box, not where the avatar itself starts.

        • June 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm #


  2. June 16, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Awesome! I can’ t believe I am about to say this but today I am actually glad I live in NJ!

    • June 16, 2011 at 10:43 am #

      It’s a rare moment to be sure, Dave. Savor it.

      • Bill Bennett
        June 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

        NJ has a killer beer scene, I am not sure why this is so surprising to me, perhaps because we are so used to living in the shadow of NY. The great thing is that I live in NJ and work in NY, and there is a definite difference in the selection between the tow states. I think my selection must be around 300-325 different breweries, excluding the great homebrew I seem to come across so frequently..

        • June 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

          I agree 100% Bill. Add in the fact that PA isn’t too far away either, and I’d say North Jersey is the catbird’s seat!

  3. June 16, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    WOW! I’m totally going to post this tonight!!

    • June 16, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      It kida helps us balance out the whole Jersey Shore thing, no?

      • June 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

        Not even close, dude.

        • June 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

          Well, shit. 😦

        • June 16, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

          I agree. the wife, who grew up on the Jersey/Pennsylvania border just replied when asked “Jersey Shore put New Jersey back a hundred years.” 😉

  4. Don
    June 16, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I wonder what Snookie thinks of the list? Has she made her way through all the breweries? How many of those individual brewers has she slept with? These are the real answers people want to know about Jersey! And yes Jim I do read the tags. Huge grain of salt taken, as Brewforia has at least 1000 different beers from over 300 different breweries. Not sure where the 78 comes from.

  5. June 16, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    That totally surprises me. I had no idea NJ had such a selection. I’m also surprised that MN is only at #20. We have been getting loads of new breweries sending their stuff in the last few years. Poor, poor North Dakota…

    • June 16, 2011 at 11:45 am #

      I agree on the ND thing – the spreadsheet makes it look like a wasteland.

      NJ has a couple of really great beer stores with mind boggling selections. It’s one of the few perks of living in the land of the spray tan!

  6. korryn
    June 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Know of anyway to contact the good samaritan spreadsheet designer? For PA there is a brewery listed that my local bar consistently carries (Butternuts).

    • June 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

      Looks like you need to be a BA or RateBeer member to reach him. I put links in the post above to his account in both places. Of course he might stop by here as well – you never know!

  7. June 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    That’s some good work by the spreadsheet man, and I do believe the horse head is indeed a mobster thing as they seem to dominate in Trenton.

    Can’t say this would be an excuse for me to want to stay in NJ, but it sure helps while I’m here!

    • June 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      I think it makes PA look pretty good, too. Especially with low housing costs and non-insane taxes.

  8. Jeff W
    June 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

    Tag, “Idaho is lame” = no beer for Jim

    Congrats, Don. I’ll pour you your brother’s measure.


    • June 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

      Wow – that hurts, Jeff. That hurts.

  9. June 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Wow! I’m a lucky devil then since I can access both PA AND NJ beer retailers quite easily.

    • June 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

      That reminds me I should do a PA beer run son.

  10. June 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Great tip on the STL Hops page. I’m all over that. Especially now that there are more and more brewers opening up shop in the area*, that’ll be a great resource.

    *InBev buying A-B may have been the best thing to ever happen to the St. Louis beer market.

    • June 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

      I assumed you already knew about it, being a STL beer geek and all. Seems like he really has the town covered.

  11. June 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Pretty sure I can get at least 50 different breweries at my corner grocery in Star, ID now (and Don can probably attest that Star is a backwater in the Treasure Valley), so thinking there would need to be a lot more research to make something like this accurate. Also, this sheet pretty much ignores the smaller regional breweries of the West (and assuming East) that haven’t crossed the Mississippi either way yet I.E. Bayern, Beer Valley, Iron Works, etc.

    • June 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      I’d get in contact with Nick, the guy who made up the spreadsheet. As this is a wiki-type deal, perhaps he needs some wikiers from Idaho to help him out.

      • June 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

        I think he definitely needs input from a wider audience, and we can all help with that; the more data points, the more accurate the output. Like Jonathan mentioned, there are a number of regional breweries not represented. I noticed the omission of quite a few Colorado brews as well as inaccurate listings on availability of breweries from other states. I applaud the effort and will duly try and contact them with my observations! 😉

        • June 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

          That’s the spirit, Will. It’s a cool idea that should be supported.

  12. Dr. Fermento
    June 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Hey Gang~

    I’m pondering the numbers and studying the significance, but am not really sure what it means. I’m the President of the Brewer’s Guild of Alaska. I also write for Celebrator and I write a weekly beer column for the local paper and publish two blogs, as if that means anything. What I DO know is that in pure, raw numbers, Alaska has 21 licensed, operating brewing establishments in our vast state. I don’t know what that works our to per capita or how that jives with the numbers in the listing, but demz da facts!

    • June 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      As far as your blogging, writing, and brewing credentials, you forgot to add that you’re a doctor! 🙂

      The list is the numbers of breweries whose products are distributed in the state, not just those who are brewing within its borders. The spreadsheet has Alaska down for 58 breweries selling beer there. If there are 21 breweries in the state, I guess it means that there are 37 out-of-state craft breweries who distribute in Alaska. As I’m in New Jersey, I have NO idea if it’s accurate or not, just that it’s what the spreadsheet says.

  13. June 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Very interesting data. Curious about the selection. Is this just for breweries? Our database has over 1800 US brewers in it, but it also includes brew pubs, etc. The list seems a bit thin. Do you know how the list of brewers was chosen?

  14. June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    I would guess that most of those in California are found in Southern Cal (specifically LA and San Diego) and San Francisco.

  15. June 23, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    I really like your ranking system but after a closer look at your spreadsheet you are missing a ton of micro brewery just in Texas. I will provide you a link to a site that list them all it list the other states as well!

    • June 23, 2011 at 11:23 am #

      It’s not our spreadsheet – it’s a wiki thing another beer geek is working on. Check out the post for how to contact him with your brewery data. Also, it might be that breweries who don’t distribute outside of their home state aren’t on the list.


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