There's been much cheering and fanfare reverberating throughout the brewing community about the latest brewery numbers recently released from the Brewer's Association, who counted exactly 2,126 breweries in the United States. To put that into context, you have to go way back to 1887 when the United States had that many breweries. It's an astonishing 47% increase from just five years ago in 2007 when the tally was a mere 1,449, despite the United States slowly recovering from a serious recession over this period. And according to the Brewers Association, another whopping 1,252 breweries are in the planning stages.
Where is it all going? The growth shows no sign of stopping and the biggest problem most breweries have is that they can't brew beer fast enough. But can the market really absorb all these new breweries? Are we headed for a cataclysmic brewing bubble where legions of brewers, their big dreams busted, are left to contemplate selling insurance? Or is brewing reaching a critical mass, only to explode even more intensely in a thermo-nuclear frenzy of fermentation?
Now you have a chance to weigh in on these questions. For this month's Session, tell us how many breweries the Brewer's Association will count five years from now in 2017, and why you think it will be that number.
We greatly appreciate international perspectives on the US brewing industry and look forward to predictions on US brewery numbers from outside America's shores. Or if they prefer, they can make a similar prediction about the brewing industry in their home country.
Feel free to use complex mathematical econometric models, top secret brewing industry information, or your favorite dart board, and post your prediction on Friday, September 7th. Share your link in a comment to this post, or send it to me in an e-mail from a link you'll find here. I'll post the round-up a few days later.
And for incentive, if five years from now your prediction is the most accurate one, in addition to enjoying beer blogger bragging rights, I will personally buy you a beer.