With the recent craft beer boom, which started about 30 years ago in the United States and which has since then affected the whole world, the number of breweries is increasing worldwide and hit last year again a new record.
Without any question the US is already for many years the country with the largest number of breweries in the world. Last year, the number surpassed the 5,000 mark and at the end of the year, there were 5,301 breweries (+16,6%), thereof 5,234 craft beer breweries according to the definition of the Brewers Association. Second comes Great Britain with 1,692 (+8,6%) breweries in 2016, followed by Germany with 1,408 (+1,4%) breweries . Other important beer countries in respect to the number of operating breweries are China, France, Italy, Russia, Canada, Switzerland, Brazil and Japan. But also comparatively small beer markets in regions like Africa, Asia or Latin America see the opening of new breweries nearly on a daily basis.
The cities with the highest density of breweries in the US are San Diego/CA , Denver/CO, Portland/OR, Santa Rosa/CA and Minneapolis/MN. Nevertheless, all of these cities are minor compared to some traditional places in Germany.
Most people will know about Munich, with its Oktoberfest and several well-known and century-old breweries like Paulaner, Augustiner, Spaten-Franziskaner or Hofbräu. But there are many more, especially new craft beer breweries like Giesinger or the newly opened Flugwerk.
The self-proclaimed “true capital of beers” is Bamberg in Franconia. The earliest proof of a brewery is given by a document from 1122: Bishop Otto I gave Benedictine monks the privilege of brewing. In 1818, 65 breweries brewed 40,000 hectoliters of beer in Bamberg. Today, the city has 73,000 inhabitants with still 8 operating breweries and 2 maltings.