Saturday, July 13, 2024

NC trend: Ranking the state’s biggest brewers

North Carolina has more than 400 craft breweries in small towns and major cities, including a couple of dozen that have opened in the past year alone, according to statistics recently released by the Colorado-based Brewers Association.

The state ranks in the top 10 nationally for craft beer production with the industry reporting an economic impact of $2.8 billion per year and 18,000 jobs, including suppliers, distributors and other vendors. Craft beer businesses are known for their creativity, providing distinctive brews and serving as community gathering spots.

Beer gets particular attention in October and November as breweries introduce flavors and offer marketplaces for holiday gift buying. The N.C. State Fair last month featured the industry at its NC Public House in a partnership with the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild and N.C. Wine and Grape Council. 

The brewers’ group holds an annual competition to honor the best beers in the state. This year’s winner will be announced in November.

The Brewers Association defines craft brewers as producing less than 6 million barrels annually, while being at least 75% owned by an individual or group not controlled by a large beverage company. 

In 2021, North Carolina had 364 craft breweries that produced more than 950,000 barrels of craft beer, according to the trade association.

Credit: Jonas Jacobsson for unsplash



Number of manufacturing licenses issued in North Carolina by federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, including beer, wine and liquor.

2021» 544
2011» 71
2001» 38


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