There are now over 4,441 breweries in the US, which tops the former record of 4,131 set back in 1873. Good news, right!?! Yes, the craft brewing industry is certainly on a roll these days. There are one or two new breweries opening every day in the US right now. These small brewing companies are employing a lot of people and keeping a lot of allied trade companies (like Birko) very busy, indeed. While this growth is great to see, it is also a good time to remember the past, and the industry consolidation and Prohibition that occurred after the previous record was set. Ultimately, there were less than 50 brewing companies in the US by 1978, with less than 100 brewing facilities operating in the nation. (Please see: https://www.brewersassociation.org/brewers-association/history/history-of-craft-beer/.)
Changes are already well underway. Some craft breweries are selling all or a portion of ownership to larger breweries and private equity firms. There is also a growing concern of brewing ingredients, such as malt and hops, being in short supply in the near future, even with good crop years. Having said that, this time in history will probably become to be known as the good old days. So, at least for now anyway, raise a toast to the craft brewing industry, and enjoy the holidays!