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Portland, Maine – “America’s Craft Beer Capital”

Every day we see more evidence that the people in Portland, Maine are in a very special place, somewhere that can be truly be called America’s Craft Beer Capital.

We already know that Maine is a Top Beer Destination in the United States. It’s true, we make really good beer here, some say the best in the country.

I’ve talked before about the demographics of our guests and what parts of the country and the world they come from to visit Maine.

Also, I’ve mentioned the 2015 study by the Maine Office of Tourism that found that 46% of guests to Maine reported that touring/sightseeing and food/beverage/culinary activities ranked highest when they were deciding to visit Maine.

Beercationland t-shirts and sweatshirts in new colors are available at our online Merchandise Store

This is exactly why we coined the term Beercationland to describe our statea play on Maine’s slogan of Vacationland that has been found on Maine’s license plates since 1935.

The Maine Brewers’ Guild has been working to provide accurate information on the number of licensed breweries in the State of Maine. As of October 31st, the number is 89 breweries statewide!

Now we have even more evidence that Portland, ME is regarded on the national stage as the epicenter for craft beer, and the place in the country that “beer tourists” will not want to miss.

There are many sources that place Portland, ME as a top beer destination in the county. Travel + Leisure and Travelocity are two that recently placed Portland as a must see for beer lovers.

The site SmartAsset earlier this year looked at many different factors to determine that Portland, Maine ranks as the best city for beer drinkers in the country. They went so far as to declare Portland as the nation’s top beer city!

Now a contributor to Forbes has written that Portland, Maine is truly America’s Craft Beer Capital based solely on breweries per capita. Their data was taken from SmartAssets souces and showed 17 breweries in the city that has just under 67,000 people, which works out to 25.5 breweries per 100,000 residents.

Some of us might think that this data might be a little off. For starters, we know there are a few breweries in the city that brew under different licenses at Shipyard’s facility.

But looking at the licensed brewery list supplied by the Maine Brewers’ Guild, there are currently 16 distinct licensed breweries in Portland. You can currently visit 14 of them (10 of them on our various tours).

What are the two exceptions for those you cannot vist? Peak Organic is their own company that brews at Shipyard under an tenant brewer arrangement, and One Eye Open will not open their tasting room until 2017.

The City of Portland has an estimated 2015 population of 66,881 residents, so with the corrected brewery count of 16 we find that Portland has one brewery for every 4,180 residents. That is 23.9 breweries per 100,000 residents. That still puts us on the top of the list of breweries per capita, based on the largest 296 cities in the country.

There is no denying that the beer made in Maine is plentiful and is crafted with the highest quality. It’s also clear that Portland has a very high concentration of breweries for a city it’s size. And with more Portland breweries on the way, we are not likely to give up this crown anytime soon.

So we can all grab a local beer and cheers to Portland, Maine. America’s Craft Beer Capital!


Don Littlefield is the General Manager of The Maine Brew Bus, and a life-long resident of Portland, Maine. He invites you to come to Portland to see for yourself, and take a ride on the #1 TripAdvisor tour in the city. He last enjoyed a Fair Maiden DIPA from Foley Brothers in Brandon, VT. Twitter: @BeerinME

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