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Survey suggests there's room for more craft beers in Maryland

Survey suggests there's room for more craft beers in Maryland
Maryland scores in the middle of the pack when it comes to the number of craft breweries in the state. (Jack Andersen / Getty Images)

If it seems like there’s a lot of craft beer available in these parts, there is — but not nearly as much as in many other states.

When it comes to the number of craft breweries in Maryland and the amount of craft beer we all consume, the Free State falls right in the middle of the pack, according to figures released by the Brewers Association, a craft brewers industry group.

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Maryland has 94 craft breweries, according to the survey, ranking it 23rd. That averages out to 2.1 breweries per 100,000 adults 21 and over, which places it 36th.

Other rankings move the state back to the center of the pack: We come in 24th when it comes to total economic impact ($826 million), 22nd when it comes to barrels of craft beer produced each year (294,801) and 28th in gallons produced per adult (2).

Our neighbor to the north, Pennsylvania, ranks considerably wetter, at least when it comes to craft beers. The Keystone state ranks sixth in the number of breweries (354), second in economic impact ($5,788 million), fourth in gallons consumed per adult (11.7) and first in barrels of craft beer produced (3,719,475). Oddly, it only ranks 21st in breweries per 100,000 people (3.6), suggesting there’s room for more there.

By contrast, West Virginia ranked pretty low for the most part: 46th in the number of craft breweries (26), 44th in economic impact ($293 million), 49th in barrels of craft beer produced (18,951) and dead last in gallons per adult (0.4).

Not surprisingly, Washington, D.C., had the fewest breweries, with only 13 (it is, after all, considerably smaller than even the smallest state, Rhode Island, which has 26 breweries and ranks 46th). Also no surprise: California has the most breweries, with 841; Colorado is a distant second, with 396.

Helping the cause might be one of the newest Maryland laws, effective July 1, which loosened the restrictions on the sale and consumption of booze. Starting last week, breweries in Maryland can serve up to 5,000 barrels a year in its many taprooms.

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