January 12, 2016 // as featured in Washingtonian
Few aspects of DC’s drinking and dining scenes have changed as much in the past five years as beer production. Local breweries were sparse when I first moved to the District. But that started changing in 2011 with the founding of companies like DC Brau, the first DC-based brewery in over 50 years, and Port City Brewing Company, the Alexandria’s first production brewery since Prohibition. Since then, microbreweries and brewpubs have proliferated across the region, just as they have across the rest of the United States. There were 4,144 breweries operating nationwide at the end of 2015 according to the Brewers Association, nearly three times as many as there were in 2008. But how does Washington’s brew scene compare to other metropolitan areas?
The DC region has the second most breweries of any East Coast city, and ranks ninth nationally. Unsurprisingly West Coast and Midwestern cities dominate the top spots. DC has an average proportion of microbreweries and brewpubs, but a comparable lack of regional or large breweries highlighting the nascent stage and local reach of its current beer scene.
The beer boom isn't expected to slow down anytime soon in the DC region. There are currently more than twenty planned breweries, which would increase the region's breweries by nearly a third. If these planned breweries come to fruition, DC would move to the eighth spot nationally, moving ahead of foodie haven San Francisco.
Interested in visiting the regions breweries? Check out the map below for locations.
Source: Brewers Association.
Technical notes: Data are sourced from Brewers Associations. Data are shown for Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), which typically include a principal city and the surrounding suburbs. Only planned breweries that reported a name and town of operation were considered. You can find complete code for this post on my github page.