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San Francisco breweries create craft beer haven, report says

The City by the Bay comes in fifth for independent breweries, California dominates list
  • Brewers Association data reveals the U.S. has surpassed the 1873 record of 4,131 open breweries.
  • San Francisco makes the ranks at number five, according to FindTheHome’s recent study, which used Yelp data and American Community Survey research from 2014.
  • San Francisco has a brewery score of 81.7 and 31 total local breweries across the city, including operations like Anchor Brewing and Speakeasy Ales & Lagers.
  • San Diego was highest on the list out of the Golden State breweries at number four nationwide.

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Hipsters can’t be the only ones who enjoy a good craft beer: the Brewers Association found that mid-year domestic craft beer production grew 16.6 percent year-over-year solely in the first half of 2015, reaching 12.2 million barrels total.

Brewers Association data also reveals the U.S. has surpassed the 1873 record of 4,131 open breweries. In 2015, the count of U.S. breweries stood at 4,269 total, a 17.9 percent annual jump.

So where does beer still maintain a homegrown taste and vibe? San Francisco makes the ranks at number five, according to FindTheHome’s recent study, which used Yelp data and American Community Survey research from 2014. The team calculated brewery scores for cities with at least five breweries at populations higher than 200,000 residents.

Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale/ Flickr user V31S70

Anchor Brewing Liberty Ale/ Flickr user V31S70

San Francisco and other top contenders were filtered by certain criteria, including four or more Yelp stars and at least 25 reviews, number of Yelp reviews per 10,000 residents and the number of breweries per 10,000 people.

San Francisco has a brewery score of 81.7 and an impressive 31 total local breweries across the city, including notable operations like Anchor Brewing and Speakeasy Ales & Lagers. The density of four-plus star breweries is 0.13 and the number of Yelp reviews per 10,000 people is 164.85. In San Francisco, there are .37 breweries per 10,000 residents.

Come for the sunshine, stay for the beer

California stole the spotlight for small business brews all-around. Anaheim ranked ninth with a brewery score of 80.14 and 11 breweries total. The city’s density of four-plus star breweries is 0.23 and there are 64.26 Yelp reviews per 10,000 people. In Anaheim, there are 0.32 breweries per 10,000 residents.

San Diego was highest on the list out of the Golden State breweries at number four nationwide. With a brewery score of 84.42 and 91 total breweries, San Diego is no doubt a go-to spot for a taste of hoppy beverages. Additionally, the density of four-plus star breweries is 0.45 and the number of Yelp reviews per 10,000 residents in 149.32. The number of breweries per 10,000 people in San Diego is 0.68.

The West reigns supreme in microbrews

Portland, Seattle and Denver took the top three positions on the list (in descending order) as craft beer meccas, which may not come as much of a surprise to locals. The Pacific Northwest and Colorado are two thriving markets for independent breweries, and the demand seems to be sparking an ongoing stream of supply – regardless of big brands largely controlling the alcohol and entertainment market.

Portland residents have 87 local breweries to choose from, with a score of 89.35. The density of four-plus star Yelp reviews is 0.55 and the number of reviews per 10,000 people is 222.78. The number of breweries per 10,000 residents in Portland is 1.44.

Seattle, Portland’s big sister of sorts, has 64 breweries spanning the local region. FindTheHome gives Seattle a brewery score of 87.62 and discovered a density of four-plus star reviews at 0.52. The number of Yelp reviews per 10,000 people is 142.17 in Seattle, while the number of breweries per 10,000 residents is one.

With 59 breweries and a score of 85.97, Denver comes in at number three. The density of four-plus star reviews is 0.69, the number of Yelp reviews per 10,000 residents is 117.85 and the number of breweries per 10,000 residents is 0.93.

Are craft breweries here to stay?

The merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, a conglomerate now responsible for approximately one-third of worldwide beer manufacturing, hasn’t stunted craft brewery growth.

Microbreweries grew 21.6 percent between 2014 and 2015 to reach 2,397 total, while brewpubs rose 12.2 percent to reach 1,650 across the country, according to the report. Overall, the U.S. craft brewery count rose 18.1 percent between 2014 and 2015. In 2012, there were just 2,401 craft breweries overall, compared with 4,225 in 2015.

Email Jennifer Riner