January 16, 2019
You may or may not be familiar with Harpoon or Long Trail or Otter Creek, but if you are from Vermont (particularly if you drink beer), then you know these names. They are three of the dozens of craft breweries that have recently sprouted up like dandelions in April throughout the Green Mountain State.
According to this article on the Vermont news site VTDigger.org, Vermont leads the nation in breweries per adults of drinking age. Vermont has 11.5 breweries per 100,000 adults, well ahead of second-place Montana and Maine, which each checked in with 9.6 breweries per 100,000.
And they’re making a lot of beer. Vermont breweries produce 151.2 pints per beer per year for every adult, and craft beer makers add $681 per person of legal drinking age to the state economy.
There is, of course, the necessary downside to all of this news. One, of course, is that the growth in craft brewing cannot continue ad infinitum. And, if Ben & Jerry’s experience is typical, I suspect that some of these smaller breweries will ultimately be gobbled up by larger conglomerates. And others will simply end up closing up shop.
Moreover, while Vermont may be a leader in the craft brewery movement, it is also a leader in alcohol consumption, ranking 6th in per-capita alcohol consumption and 4th in beer consumption.
Whereas the “Healthy People 2020 government initiative set the target for alcohol consumption per capita at 2.1 gallons or less per year, the average Vermonter consumed 3.08 gallons.
In fairness to the average Vermonter, I may have nudged that average up a smidge. Vermont beer is pretty darn good.