States With Highest Bottling/Canning RatesThere are a lot of ways you could slice and dice these data, and my crude cut-off doesn't capture much of the nuance. Sorting by breweries per capita would be more informative, but that would require me to find the populations of 50 states, and the benefit doesn't justify the effort. The upshot is evident in these numbers: there's huge variation state to state.
76% - Massachusetts (109 breweries)
61% - Vermont (54 breweries)
60% - Wisconsin (139 breweries)
States With Lowest Bottling/Canning Rates
32% - Michigan (204 breweries)
29% - Iowa (54 breweries)
28% - Arizona (72 breweries)
Bart Watson, the Brewers Association's economist, posted a highly relevant article yesterday that further illuminates this phenomenon. He finds exactly the same thing.
The first note is that the size of the on-premise beer market varies wildly by state. This is due to a variety of factors: beer’s share of beverage alcohol, overall beer consumption levels, number of on-premise outlets, on-premise culture, consumer preferences and socioeconomic factors.... [T]he variations are pretty huge, ranging from almost 44 pints per 21+ adult in Colorado to 5.5 pints per 21+ adult in Mississippi.He then adds another layer, explains it in technical statistics-ese, and summarizes his finding this way:
In crunching the numbers, the size of the on-premise beer market appears to be far more important for brewery per capita numbers than the size of the overall beer market.... In layman’s terms, that means when you know both the size of the draught market in a state and the size of the total beer market, the size of the draught market is a much better predictor of the number of small and independent breweries.(For you stats folk, his r-squared was a muscular 0.7, which ain't bad.) Watson has three cool graphs, so click through and read his piece.
The Big Upshot: Draft is Good
I have been promoting the maxim "buy local, buy good, and buy on draft" as a guide to developing healthy beer culture, and Watson's numbers back me up.
The data suggest that states where on-premise is more important to the beer market, craft does better in the off-premise. The logic is fairly simply: in places where more beer lovers are in bars and restaurants drinking beer and thus encountering craft, off-premise locations have better sales for craft brewers as well.So there you have it. Drink on draft and you will create a virtuous cycle that buoys local breweries.