By now it’s probably no surprise: people love to drink at brewery taprooms.
The opportunity to get fresh, from-the-source beer is always a big draw, but there’s certainly an additional layer of excitement about visiting the physical space itself. It’s a deeper connection to the liquid in the glass.
In many places, it’s also simply part of the drinking culture.
Recently, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) released a new set of statistics related to beer: the aggregated data of sales state-by-state. The information includes numbers from 2010 to 2015, highlighting the breakdown of sales related to bottles and cans, barrels and kegs and “premise use,” the stuff that’s sold on-site and tracked by the TTB. This particularly relates to the “rise of own-premise” business models I wrote about for Good Beer Hunting.
Because of the qualitative and quantitative evidence that consistently appears related to greater customer interest in on-site drinking, I wanted to see if parsing the numbers might offer any new insight into how things look on a state-by-state basis.
Programming note: because of quirky interpretations of policies, business practices and state law, numbers reported to the TTB may not always be 100 percent, guaranteed accurate. In conversation with Bart Watson, the Brewers Association’s economist, he pointed out to me that reported premise use numbers are likely lower than reality. All the same, I’m taking the figures at face value for purposes of this post because it’s the data presented.
It’s impossible to deny that in several states, the act of going straight to the source for beer has become part of the culture for local residents. We often hear about people living in San Diego, for instance, taking advantage of the more than 100 beer-making businesses in the county alone. To put actual numbers to this, I pulled the information for states we may most closely associate with this behavior, using Brewers Association-defined craft breweries..
For example, here’s the data from California:
|No. of breweries||431||518||20%|
|Own-premise barrels sold||66,582.57||121,961.79||83%|
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Golden State drinkers keep California as the top premise-use sales state in the country, a number that is certain to grow as it surpassed 700 total in-state breweries this past summer.
But what’s really interesting is California’s comparison to another beer-loving state. Despite having roughly half the number of breweries in 2015, Colorado had nearly identical on-site sales:
|No. of breweries||235||284||21%|
|Own-premise barrels sold||75,759.99||120,964.79||60%|
Maybe it’s all those biking trails that lead straight to breweries?
Those state figures may not come as anything new, but what really interested me were states that might also attract a large number of tourists. In a previous post, I highlighted the very real financial impact of beer tourism, which is most definitely felt in states like Oregon:
In the most recent (2014) survey by Travel Portland, a tourism office for the Oregon city, results showed that 11 percent of US adults visited Portland for a leisure trip in 2013 or 2014 … Among those who visited, 68 percent participated in some beer-related experience.
Despite just a 5.5 percent growth in number of breweries from 2014 to 2015, own-premise sales more than doubled:
|No. of breweries||216||228||5.50%|
|Own-premise barrels sold||35,542.33||86,834.95||144%|
You can also find this kind of drastic contrast in Vermont, land of Hill Farmstead and Heady Topper:
|No. of breweries||40||44||10%|
|Own-premise barrels sold||2,786.29||10,846.17||289%|
And to a lesser extent, Washington:
|No. of breweries||256||305||19%|
|Own-premise barrels sold||18,363.50||43,219.71||135%|
And here’s a fun and perhaps unexpected one, Montana:
|No. of breweries||44||49||11%|
|Own-premise barrels sold||6,203.14||26,374.60||325%|
A common denominator for all these states would certainly be their unique beer cultures, which are deep and ingrained in each state’s connection to food, beverage and “what’s local.” Some of these brewery numbers are so large, the percentage growth remains relatively low, but there’s no denying how impressive the actual sale of pints looks.
Programming note: Because some of the jumps in on-site sales seem drastic from 2014 to 2015, I emailed the TTB to ask if any reporting or data collection changed. If I hear back, I will update this post with that info.
While some states have always had great interest in their own beer scene, it’s easy to see that kind of attention spreading to other areas across the country. The number of breweries is growing everywhere and with it, the number of people checking out these new additions to their community.
To better understand this change, I tracked the top-15 states for on-site sales based on numbers reported to the TTB. Using all six years of data offered by the organization, here’s what a year-to-year chart looks like, highlighting the up-and-down shift of states. Note the key of this chart, which uses red to indicate a year-to-year drop, yellow to show an increased rank, but one for a state already on the list, and blue to show a new appearance in the top 15:
Obvious note on the quirkiness of reporting, as mentioned above, as Illinois somehow took over the top spot from California and Colorado solely for 2014. I have a note in with the TTB communications staff to help clarify this instance.
Aside from that, I’d like to draw your attention to the column for 2015, where we see four new states appear in the top-15. This is an important aspect to recognize, as it clearly helps illustrate the new brewery and beer cultures expanding in states like Texas, Florida and others.
Also, shoutout to Michael Uhrich for this addition regarding state-by-state growth:
To help reinforce this idea, I pulled two collections of states to focus on the increased number of breweries, as reported to the Brewers Association, and the total barrels sold on-site at breweries.
From 2014 to 2015, here are some of the top states in terms of percentage growth of breweries, according to numbers collected by the Brewers Association:
|State||2014 Breweries||2015 Breweries||Percentage Growth|
Additionally, here are the same states with percentage growth of own-premise barrels sold, using figures from the TTB:
|State||2014 Barrels Sold||2015 Barrels Sold||Percentage Growth|
For fun, a look at those two lists side-by-side:
|Brewery Growth||Barrels Sold Growth|
The key here is to better identify the places that are making the jump toward where long-tenured beer loving states may be. In the past couple years, Texas has certainly been a state to keep an eye on and these stats certainly emphasize that. As you go down the list, consider the states shown with new, hot breweries you’ve heard about.
The Pacific Northwest and West Coast have long been known as big beer places, but this collection of states helps to show why so many people are talking about just about every region of the country as something to offer. New breweries are doing some pretty great things, which is attracting plenty of people to not only open and expand these beer communities, but bringing beer lovers to the source. A lot of this has to do with growing interest, but it certainly also deals with modernizing laws in many of these states that for a long time impeded aspects of industry growth.
In the end, that final note will continue to play a pivotal role in how these kinds of stats grow and change in the years to come.
The Full List
In case you were interested in finding the data for certain states, the full list is pasted below. Note that the number of breweries per state, as shared on the Brewers Association website state-by-state, goes back five years. The TTB data goes back to 2010. In some cases, like Mississippi, data for a year may be missing.
|No. of breweries||6||10||13||19||24|
|Own-premise barrels sold||0.00||0.00||0.00||130.55||226.25||5,760.63|
|No. of breweries||20||22||22||22||27|
|Own-premise barrels sold||1,666.84||1,994.17||2,007.52||2,556.31||2,656.27||5,049.98|
|No. of breweries||34||45||47||53||78|
|Own-premise barrels sold||14,982.81||16,668.08||14,427.63||18,562.39||17,667.95||29,762.28|
|No. of breweries||6||10||13||19||26|
|Own-premise barrels sold||518.25||535.25||524.00||558.14||776.12||1,319.67|
|No. of breweries||270||319||381||431||518|
|Own-premise barrels sold||29,464.37||38,249.35||27,645.89||62,653.99||66,582.57||121,961.79|
|No. of breweries||126||151||175||235||284|
|Own-premise barrels sold||39,224.46||50,434.80||43,769.12||61,841.82||75,759.99||120,964.79|
|No. of breweries||16||21||23||27||35|
|Own-premise barrels sold||695.72||1,006.90||471.10||2,411.30||2,076.35||13,478.12|
|No. of breweries||7||9||10||11||15|
|Own-premise barrels sold||0.00||569.00||0.00||3,051.08||3,089.73||5,981.02|
|No. of breweries||45||57||66||111||151|
|Own-premise barrels sold||5,072.64||4,679.22||3,189.01||6,370.49||7,140.24||35,277.93|
|No. of breweries||21||22||28||40||45|
|Own-premise barrels sold||2,121.72||2,489.06||1,853.20||4,658.16||4,435.57||17,961.44|
|No. of breweries||7||9||8||10||13|
|Own-premise barrels sold||1,329.75||1,367.08||1,134.11||1,972.63||1,380.60||4,234.55|
|No. of breweries||24||31||34||43||50|
|Own-premise barrels sold||3,783.23||4,994.57||4,354.86||6,006.63||4,573.66||13,792.75|
|No. of breweries||54||68||83||103||157|
|Own-premise barrels sold||12,011.12||15,552.91||14,890.69||25,269.76||91,945.35||44,535.02|
|No. of breweries||46||55||63||80||115|
|Own-premise barrels sold||6,072.24||9,611.42||8,564.63||15,006.35||16,300.90||32,287.43|
|No. of breweries||27||34||40||46||58|
|Own-premise barrels sold||3,316.93||4,356.60||3,593.09||6,175.74||5,775.54||17,917.21|
|No. of breweries||17||19||20||22||26|
|Own-premise barrels sold||3,461.57||4,906.29||3,403.46||7,451.96||7,579.47||6,540.63|
|No. of breweries||11||14||15||18||24|
|Own-premise barrels sold||279.60||1,277.50||749.81||6,465.48||6,234.52||7,190.18|
|No. of breweries||8||8||11||15||20|
|Own-premise barrels sold||1,775.20||1,536.07||1,606.10||1,723.51||1,579.10||5,933.60|
|No. of breweries||34||37||47||52||59|
|Own-premise barrels sold||2,980.25||3,754.47||3,814.16||8,036.58||7,936.21||14,797.04|
|No. of breweries||25||31||34||40||60|
|Own-premise barrels sold||7,145.62||6,929.68||5,586.80||7,771.25||7,541.10||17,543.58|
|No. of breweries||45||49||57||61||84|
|Own-premise barrels sold||9,881.01||8,377.22||7,691.57||12,570.98||10,352.66||15,277.04|
|No. of breweries||105||122||131||159||205|
|Own-premise barrels sold||12,998.13||14,199.86||11,527.15||28,569.48||32,038.96||56,749.17|
|No. of breweries||35||47||52||73||105|
|Own-premise barrels sold||1,715.22||3,058.91||1,238.71||11,110.35||12,806.87||35,898.89|
|No. of breweries||2||3||4||7||8|
|Own-premise barrels sold||0.00||3.00||0.00||0.00||6,294.62|
|No. of breweries||43||45||49||55||71|
|Own-premise barrels sold||8,431.39||10,596.85||10,804.23||13,003.37||13,743.88||18,183.66|
|No. of breweries||33||36||39||44||49|
|Own-premise barrels sold||2,708.02||3,042.40||3,236.79||4,373.97||6,203.14||26,374.60|
|No. of breweries||18||19||22||32||33|
|Own-premise barrels sold||3,020.29||2,083.32||1,132.00||6,449.30||3,657.26||6,412.13|
|No. of breweries||18||22||22||25||34|
|Own-premise barrels sold||12,111.63||14,930.03||14,025.70||14,187.08||16,234.04||21,479.94|
|No. of breweries||15||19||22||26||44|
|Own-premise barrels sold||4,698.22||5,352.00||5,653.58||6,072.36||6,381.32||8,636.34|
|No. of breweries||24||25||26||32||51|
|Own-premise barrels sold||2,120.18||2,293.27||905.64||5,280.34||6,060.97||18,359.01|
|No. of breweries||25||28||31||36||45|
|Own-premise barrels sold||8,436.52||8,424.92||6,140.71||13,997.52||13,976.38||13,352.96|
|No. of breweries||75||92||165||181||208|
|Own-premise barrels sold||8,095.67||10,455.01||7,839.08||25,407.21||39,154.22||44,669.50|
|No. of breweries||59||71||91||101||161|
|Own-premise barrels sold||11,792.64||12,674.72||12,987.41||22,091.10||18,424.66||51,543.68|
|No. of breweries||2||4||6||6||9|
|Own-premise barrels sold||0.00||132.00||47.98||1,376.15||1,350.78||2,325.95|
|No. of breweries||45||58||76||110||143|
|Own-premise barrels sold||7,220.57||8,084.49||8,244.44||11,927.23||13,732.61||31,530.96|
|No. of breweries||10||10||13||10||14|
|Own-premise barrels sold||1,575.34||1,753.78||937.96||2,381.47||2,459.74||9,950.59|
|No. of breweries||124||145||181||216||228|
|Own-premise barrels sold||23,123.20||28,137.03||29,193.32||38,267.28||35,542.33||86,834.95|
|No. of breweries||88||104||108||136||178|
|Own-premise barrels sold||13,405.80||20,844.85||17,818.02||32,031.70||30,646.77||41,040.29|
|No. of breweries||6||8||8||11||14|
|Own-premise barrels sold||787.84||902.50||716.47||830.80||987.13||974.43|
|No. of breweries||16||16||20||31||36|
|Own-premise barrels sold||2,001.43||1,708.77||652.55||2,738.72||3,184.64||9,666.53|
|No. of breweries||5||7||10||12||14|
|Own-premise barrels sold||253.50||165.00||0.00||913.96||1,433.02||1,802.72|
|No. of breweries||24||30||35||39||52|
|Own-premise barrels sold||9,010.41||5,529.06||4,987.68||10,180.52||9,264.57||20,735.79|
|No. of breweries||59||84||96||117||189|
|Own-premise barrels sold||4,914.36||5,396.15||2,356.02||9,709.23||9,848.20||62,622.83|
|No. of breweries||16||16||16||20||22|
|Own-premise barrels sold||4,240.25||4,790.98||3,359.90||3,953.10||5,875.72||4,001.39|
|No. of breweries||22||27||29||40||44|
|Own-premise barrels sold||2,431.46||2,267.61||1,183.31||2,606.85||2,786.29||10,846.17|
|No. of breweries||40||50||61||78||124|
|Own-premise barrels sold||8,866.98||9,306.00||7,561.59||12,460.13||12,526.11||32,092.47|
|No. of breweries||136||170||201||256||305|
|Own-premise barrels sold||13,847.68||15,650.91||14,729.64||17,833.16||18,363.50||43,219.71|
|No. of breweries||6||6||9||8||10|
|Own-premise barrels sold||3,574.26||1,676.75||1,572.75||2,250.90||4,630.30||7,860.31|
|No. of breweries||5||6||7||11||12|
|Own-premise barrels sold||0.00||0.00||8.10||422.15||420.50||3,759.35|
|No. of breweries||73||84||90||97||121|
|Own-premise barrels sold||6,506.06||10,881.64||8,332.10||19,023.34||17,984.10||35,039.17|
|No. of breweries||13||15||18||22||23|
|Own-premise barrels sold||2,551.51||2,993.18||3,266.23||3,740.07||3,305.07||4,710.50|
“Don’t drink to get drunk. Drink to enjoy life.” — Jack Kerouac
14 thoughts on “How Committed is Your State to ‘Drinking Local’?”
Thanks again for this research. I would assume that TTB has the total sales as well, so the sales sold on-premise at the brewery as well as the total sales per state. It probably can’t break down total on/off premise sales, but if the total beer segment is flat and, overall, craft beer sales are slowing is it safe to assume that the non-on site sales are down or flat. Or do these sales just represent a small segment of overall sales. I know it varies wildly by brewery, but it might be interesting to see the split at a state level. And does TTB show how much beer Texas is selling outside of Texas vs. how much stays in state?
From a selfish perspective, we built Craft Nation to help breweries extend that “authentic, onsite” experience after they leave. How can they continue the conversation and continue to engage? While its great for the consumer to be able to bounce around to a bunch of great breweries for the experience, how can it be sustainable? Why would I go back a 2nd or 3rd time? And more importantly, all these wonderful breweries that have invested in the capacity to distribute outside their brewery—how am I motivated to purchase their product at a bar/store and enjoy at home.
Great to wake up and get my mind going right away.
I didn’t want to post as comment, as I don’t want it to be self-serving for Craft Nation.
Happy to help these mental workouts!
If you go to the TTB site, you can add up the collection of sales categories, but the numbers above are what they track for on-site, direct sales. Overall, “own-premise” is a very small fraction of overall sales, but it is growing fast. So while it may not provide gigantic numbers on an industry level, the barrels sold at taprooms is certainly a huge deal to the smaller breweries who can thrive off of it.
In regard to return visits, one aspect that I hear about often is price. That’s definitely a big deal for consumers, and saving a buck or two at the source, which provides all sorts of tangible benefits, can come off as “better” than going to a bar and paying more.
Not sure if I’m continuing the conversation here or not, but perhaps some additional things to bounce around!
It’ll be interesting to see if trends like this begin to have an impact on how breweries choose to distribute their product. It would limit their growth, but depending on the motivation of the brewers, they might simply be happy with crafting great beer and creating a space where people can enjoy it. In NYC at least there are a number of breweries that worry first about the distribution of their product at the brewery and if anything makes it through the initial sale period it slowly makes its way into distribution (Other Half, Finback, Threes). I imagine in more densely populated areas there’s less of a need for external distribution, by the same token you have places like Tree House.
I’m sure a lot of this has a lot to do with the massive amounts of hype for certain beers and breweries created through word of mouth and the various social media platforms. Five years ago I was quite happy getting stuff I could find on the shelves at my distributor but as I’ve become more involved in the online craft beer culture, there always seem to be “must-haves” that you can only get at the breweries.
Really enjoyable read.
Thanks so much for reading! Appreciate the kind words.
Among the many phrases I’ve heard in recent years, the “go a mile deep, not a mile wide” mantra seems to be wildly popular right now.
I just wanted to add a data point, one that might make you suspect the TTB data is not entirely accurate. This is the form that brewers use to report their operations:
Click to access f51309.pdf
We were audited this year, and I found out that we had been filling this form out incorrectly for about 13 years. Since we are a packaging brewery, not a brewpub, I had not been breaking out our taproom on-site sales from our total production (thinking the “tavern sales” applied only to brewpubs). They corrected my thinking, and we didn’t owe any additional taxes. But I wonder how accurate the TTB’s numbers are for the different items. At least for us, our reports would show a huge jump in on-premise sales this year!
Thank you for this, Linus! The exact reason why I had the note at the top, because given the jump seen in many states, it can almost certainly be because of tracking of these numbers. This is a great piece of evidence to add to the discussion.
Any idea of what the jump may look like for Yazoo?