The top five cities on the list have more breweries than the entire country had 35 years ago.

By Mike Pomranz
August 08, 2019
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Who wouldn’t want to live near a brewery? Outside of the opportunity to drink fantastic local beer, a study from back in March found that being within walking distance of a brewery can even increase the value of your home. Luckily, the craft beer trade group the Brewers Association found that, by the end of last year, 85-percent of drinking age adults lived within 10 miles of a brewery – not exactly an easy walk, but definitely within striking distance of an Uber. But what if you want to live as close to as many breweries as possible? Back in June, the group C+R Research unveiled their list of the American cities with the most breweries per capita. Now, coincidentally enough, the site ApartmentGuide has done nearly identical research and found very similar results for their list of “The 10 Best Cities for Beer Lovers in the U.S.”

As with C+R Research’s list, ApartmentGuide looked at all American cities with at least 50,000 residents; however, the former list pulled its brewery data from SteadyServ Technologies’ BreweryDB database while ApartmentGuide opted to use data from the aforementioned Brewers Association. Still, the two sets of findings aren’t far off, and it’s interesting to see the previous research confirmed by a second source.

Here’s ApartmentGuide’s list (with the number of breweries per 100,000 people in parenthesis):

1. Asheville, North Carolina (28)
2. Portland, Maine (26)
3. Bend, Oregon (25)
4. Kalamazoo, Michigan (21)
5. Boulder, Colorado (20)
6. Vista, California (17)
7. Leesburg, Virginia (17)
8. Greenville, South Carolina (16)
9. Fort Collins, Colorado (15)
10. Pensacola, Florida (15)

Comparing the two lists, the top six are identical, only with Portland and Bend and Kalamazoo and Boulder swapping places. The biggest discrepancy is Leesburg, which wasn’t on C+R Research’s list at all: ApartmentGuide says the population is just 53,917, so it’s possible the city didn’t make the cut for the other list. Other differences: C+R had Greenville ranked seventh, Fort Collins ranked 11th, and Pensacola ranked ninth. Meanwhile, C+R’s list had Portland, Oregon, at number nine and Missoula at number ten, which finished 20th and 17th respectively in ApartmentGuide’s assessment.

But in the end, these are all just minor discrepancies based on slightly different data sources. The real takeaway is that, yes, there are a lot of cities with flourishing brewery scenes – if that sort of thing is up your alley. In fact, all 50 cities on ApartmentGuide’s expanded list have at least five breweries within the city limits. And the top five cities combined have 104 breweries: According to the Brewers Association, that’s more breweries than the entire country had as recently as 1984.

You can see ApartmentGuide’s entire top 50, along with more details, on their blog.

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