Beer Age Wastelands
That Asheville has become a major creative force in the brewing industry is somewhat surprising since it is in the south – historically breweriana non grata for better beer culture. Whereas the West Coast, New England and parts of the upper Midwest were early adaptors in the ’80s, Asheville waited until 1994 to get its first brewery – Highland Brewing Company – and has been blazing ever since. To be fair to the south, 1986 saw the founding of Weeping Radish (clear across North Carolina in Manteo) and Abita (although it’s not like Louisiana is a hotbed of craft brewing). Then again, neighboring Mississippi, home to nearly 3,000,000 people, boasts only one lone brewery: Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company.
Of course there are a few other hubs for great beer in the south such as Georgia (SweetWater, Red Brick, Terrapin) and Tampa/St. Petersburg (Cigar City, St. Somewhere etc.) but on the whole, the Southeast is no Northwest (yet?-Ed)
Even in beer-rich states like California, home to 37 million people and only slightly fewer breweries, the megalopolis that is Los Angeles is a desert, literally and brewery-wise. Almost 4 million people call that city home, but only 3 brand-spanking new breweries do (plus the oddity Bonaventure Brewing Company atop the namesake hotel). Compare that to, say, the state of Vermont, which has 15 percent of LA’s population yet 700 percent more breweries. Go Green Mountain State!
And then there’s all those poor North Dakotans. Live there and you’re the only one without a home state brewery.
By and large, though, you can find a great, local pint almost everywhere you go. So where are you going that is still barren? Where would you like to see become the next Asheville?