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Fourth Quarter 2014

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Craft Beer in the Fifth District

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Feature: Bottoms Up

Craft brewers raise the bar in the American beer industry.

In October 2014, California-based Stone Brewing Company announced its plans to open an East Coast brewing facility in Richmond, Va., in late 2015 or early 2016, to be followed by a destination restaurant. The deal, which had been sought after by many states and municipalities, promises to bring more than just beer — it also pledges $74 million in capital investment and about 300 jobs. Stone, the country’s 10th largest craft brewery by 2013 sales, is not the first West Coast brewery to establish a second facility in a Fifth District state. In 2012, the second- and third-largest craft breweries by 2013 sales, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, both announced secondary locations in Asheville, N.C.

In addition to these expansions, many new craft breweries have opened in the Fifth District. According to the Brewers Association, there were 269 craft breweries in the District in 2014, up from 222 breweries the year before and 180 breweries in 2012. North Carolina led the Fifth District in craft breweries in 2014 with 101, up 11 percent from the previous year. Washington, D.C., had the fewest craft breweries in the District with just eight (see chart 1).

Chart 1

Combined production of District breweries was 864,052 barrels in 2014, a 34 percent increase from 2013. Not surprisingly, North Carolina produced the most craft beer in the District — 372,473 barrels in 2014. However, Maryland’s 40 craft breweries produced 210,778 barrels, the highest average production per establishment in the Fifth District (see chart 2).

Chart 2

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