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, while West Coast and Midwestern cities dominate the top spots. Washington’s beer industry is still very nascent though—there’s an average count of microbreweries and brewpubs, but a comparable lack of regional or large breweries. (Flying Dog, based in Frederick, is the 37th largest independent brewer, according to the Brewers Association.)
The beer boom isn’t slowing down anytime soon. There are currently more than twenty planned breweries around DC, which would increase the region’s count by nearly a third. If these planned breweries come to fruition, DC would jump to the eighth spot nationally, moving ahead of foodie haven San Francisco.
Interested in visiting the region’s breweries? Check out the map below for locations.
Technical notes: Data are sourced from the Brewers Association. Data are shown for metropolitan statistical areas, 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.