Beer…By the Numbers

  • Carlsberg’s revenue growth in the first quarter of 2017: 4 percent.
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev’s revenue growth in the first quarter of 2017: 3.7 percent.
  • Anheuser-Busch’s investment in U.S. brewing operations since 2011: $2.5 billion.
  • A-B’s expected U.S. investment in 2017-20: $2.5 billion.
  • This year’s expected U.S. hop acreage: 58,148.
  • Percent increase over last year’s acreage: 17.
  • Percent increase over 2012 acreage: 96.
  • Mexico’s share of worldwide beer production: 5.7 percent.
  • Germany’s share of worldwide beer production: 5.2 percent.
  • Approximate 2016 production of Shipyard Brewing Company (#1 in Maine): 118,000 barrels.
  • Approximate 2016 production of Allagash Brewing Company (#2 in Maine): 92,500 barrels.
  • California’s brewery count: 623 (ranks 1st among U.S. states).
  • Breweries per 100,000 adults in California: 2.2 (ranks 23rd; Vermont, with 10.8 per 100,000 adults, ranks first).
  • Mississippi’s brewery count: 9 (ranks 50th).
  • Breweries per 100,000 adults in Mississippi 0.4 (also ranks 50th).
  • Vermont Was Once a Dry State

    Nowadays, Vermont is a craft beer mecca, a state where one can buy growlers of local micro products in gas stations. However, The Green Mountain State was dry for much of its history. A year after Maine passed a law barring the sale of alcohol, Vermont followed suit in 1852 and kept the ban in place 50 years. Less than two decades later, the 18th Amendment imposed prohibition nationwide.

    Vermont’s original prohibition law has its roots in a temperance movement that began in New England in the 1820s. There was strong opposition to the law—it passed the legislature passed by just one vote—and enforcement was inconsistent. The law also contained a very large loophole. Alcohol used for medicinal purposes was still legal, and the manufacturers of patent medicines put plenty of alcohol in their products. Whether they made anyone healthier is debatable.

    One of the last vestiges of prohibition ended in 1988, when state lawmakers repealed the ban on buying and consuming alcohol at the location where it is made. That enabled Greg Noonan to open the Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington, the first of the state’s 40 craft breweries.’s World’s Top 100 Beers has ranked the world’s top 100 beers, based on users’ reviews and weighted by performance within and outside of style. Because the list is alphabetical, we don’t know which beer was number-one overall.

    American beers dominated the Top 100. California put more beers on the list—22—than any other state. It was followed by Vermont, with 11, and Michigan, with eight. Five there states—Florida, Indiana, Iowa, New York, and Wisconsin—placed four or more beers on the Top 100, which is further evidence that craft beer has become a nationwide phenomenon.

    The Friday Mash (Buffalo Wings Edition)

    Fifty years ago today, the first batch of chicken wings was served at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. There are several versions of how this now-ubiquitous dish came into existence, but there’s little doubt that its creator was Teressa Bellissimo, who deep-fried the wings and then coated them with hot sauce for her hungry guests.

    And now….The Mash!

    We begin in Vermont, where Nancy Warner’s Potlicker Kitchen sells jellies made with local craft beers. She recommends pairing them with cheese or charcuterie, or using them to glaze grilled meat.

    Central Michigan University is the latest school to offer a certificate program in brewing studies. The program includes science courses plus a 200-hour internship at a local brewery.

    It appears that Washington’s NFL team is serving bad beer along with bad football. Fans have tweeted pictures of bottles of months-old beer that were served to them at FedEx Field.

    Drinking beer might improve your brainpower. Experiments with mice suggest that Xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in beer, improves cognitive function. And it’s available without a prescription.

    The 2006 film Beerfest popularized the Bierstiefel or boot-shaped drinking vessel. According to, the custom of drinking beer out of footwear might be thousands of years old.

    Emily Price of Esquire magazine offers ten things to do with beer besides drink it. But why would you?

    Finally, a group of journalists are playing a brewery version of fantasy football. They held a “draft” of breweries competing in this weekend’s Great American Beer Festival, and will earn points based on the medals their selected breweries earn.

    Beer…By the Numbers

  • Cost of a one-year, all-the-Asahi-you-can-drink, passport at Brasserie Beer Boulevard in Tokyo: 29,800 yen ($282).
  • Average cost of a draft Asahi in downtown Tokyo: 500 yen ($4.74).
  • Wages and benefits paid annually by the U.S. brewing industry: $79 billion.
  • Total taxes paid annually by the U.S. brewing industry: $49 billion.
  • Americans whose ZIP code includes a brewery: 52.9 million.
  • Percentage of Americans whose ZIP code includes a brewery: 17.1.
  • New Glarus Brewing Company’s production in 2013: 146,000 barrels.
  • States in which New Glarus beer is sold: 1 (its home state of Wisconsin).
  • Vermont’s current brewery count: 56.
  • Its brewery count two years ago: 31.
  • Vermont’s annual sales of craft beer: $100 million.
  • Record for most one-liter beer mugs carried by one person: 27 (by Oliver Struempfel of Abensburg, Germany).
  • Total weight of 27 full one-liter mugs: 135 pounds.
  • Breweries represented at this year’s Michigan Brewers Guild U.P. (Upper Peninsula) Beer Festival: 61.
  • Beers poured at the U.P. Beer Festival: more than 400.
  • Beer…By the Numbers

  • Years since Westvleteren’s Sint Sixtus abbey started brewing beer: 136.
  • Number of monks currently at the abbey: 21.
  • Tickets distributed for this year’s Vermont Brewers Festival: 8,400 (total for three sessions).
  • The time it took for those tickets to sell out: 11 minutes.
  • Number of breweries in Portland, Oregon: 53.
  • Cities in the world with more breweries than Portland: 0.
  • Annual economic impact of Vermont’s craft brewing industry: $196 million.
  • Vermont’s national rank in craft brewing’s per-capita economic impact: 3rd (behind Oregon and Colorado).
  • Off-premise retail chain sales of shandies in 2013: $67 million.
  • Increase over the year before: 227 percent.
  • Summer Shandy’s share of Leinenkugel’s total sales: 50 percent.
  • Stops on the Sierra Nevada’s “Beer Camp Across America” festival circuit: 7.
  • Cost of a general-admission ticket to Beer Camp Across America: $65.
  • Beers poured at this year’s Burning Can canned-beer fest in Colorado: more than 150.
  • “Can-centric” breweries taking part in the festival: 55.
  • Too Much of a Good Thing?

    Some industry observers worry that the craft beer market might be getting saturated. Brad Tuttle of Time magazine cites two states where that could be happening. One is Vermont, which despite its small population, ranks 15th in overall craft-beer production and has the most craft breweries per capita in the U.S. However, the state’s beer production fell 2.5 percent from 2011 to 2012. The other is Indiana, where the number of craft breweries has tripled in just four years, and new brewers complain about the difficulty of getting their beers on tap at restaurants and bars.

    On the other hand, Bart Watson, a staff economist for the Brewers Association, contends that there’s still plenty of room for growth. He points to Oregon, a mature craft beer market, where production still grew by 11 percent last year.

    Beer…By the Numbers

    American Homebrewers Association membership in 2006: 11,724.
    AHA membership today: about 26,000.
    Annual production of Yuengling beer: 2.2 million barrels.
    Number of states where it is sold: 13.
    Yuengling’s share of the U.S. beer market: 1 percent.
    Oregon’s total beer production in 2010: 1.09 million barrels.
    Brewing industry’s contribution to the Oregon’s economy: $2.44 billion a year.
    California’s brewery count: 245 (highest in the nation).
    Vermont’s brewery count: 21.
    Breweries to population ratio in Vermont: 1:29,797 (best ratio in the nation).
    Number of area codes Anheuser-Busch is trademarking for its new craft beer series: 15.
    Number of state liquor stores in Pennsylvania: 632.
    Craft breweries in New York State: 73.
    Hop acreage in New York State: about 50.
    Hop acreage in the Pacific Northwest: 31,000.

    Sunday Travel Section

    It’s back, by popular demand.

    Adrian Tierney-Jones treated himself to a beer tour of Vermont. His itinerary included Magic Hat, the Vermont Brewers Festival, and the von Trapp family lodge, which now brews fine European-style lager.

    Pete Brown describes his visit to a Manhattan “dive bar”. It’s not what you think. A New York City dive is a cozy place that doesn’t cater to tourists and is steeped in nostalgia. Now if only the locals can help Pete understand baseball.

    Finally, beer is yet another incentive to visit New Orleans. A columnist for the Pensacola News-Journal calls the city a beer lover’s diamond in the rough.

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