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Beer

Brewers Association says number of US breweries is at all-time high

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Kevin O'Leary, co-owner of Ardent Craft Ales, takes a sample of Persimmon beer at his brewing facility in Richmond, VA. (AP)

It’s official—2015 is the year of the craft brewer.

According to the National Brewers Association, an advocacy group for craft brewers, the number of breweries in the U.S. has reached an all time high—topping the previous record from the 1800s--a time when large brewers really didn't exist.

As of Nov. 30, there are 4,144 breweries in America, which means beer lovers officially have more options than ever before. In 1873, there were 4,131 breweries in the country.

“This is a remarkable achievement, and it’s just the beginning,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Beer has always been a hallmark of this country and it is even more apparent today as America’s beer culture continues to expand.”

There are currently 15 states home to over 100 breweries including California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas—with more than two breweries on average opening each day. 

In 1873, New York was the top producing beer state with 2.9 million barrels produced. Today, Pennsylvania holds that honor with 4.1 million barrels produced in 2014.

The Brewers Association believes the country is returning to a time of “localized beer culture” where people care more about supporting local communities—and have more options—through their drinking habits.

“There are still thousands of towns currently without a brewery—but with populations potentially large enough to support one,” said Watson. “With beer lovers continuing to desire more full-flavored, innovative options from small and independent local breweries, ample opportunities exist for well-differentiated, high-quality entrants in the marketplace.”