In recently updated statistics by the Beer Institute, Montana now ranks third in the U.S. in beer consumption per capita behind only New Hampshire and North Dakota.
In 2011, Montana switched spots with North Dakota, which now ranks second. According to the data, Montana has an estimated 730,259 legal beer drinkers who on average drink 40.6 gallons each. To put it in perspective, that’s a little more than 81 growlers per person. That’s down from 2010′s figure of 41.7 gallons of beer (more than 83 growlers) for each legal drinker. New Hampshire in 2011 boasted 43 gallons of beer per capita and North Dakota registered 42.2 gallons per capita.
I’m not completely sure on how the Beer Institute estimates the per capita figure, but I assume it takes the amount of beer sold and divides it by the amount of legal drinkers. In which case you can be sure that the per capita figure is likely less because it’s not just those who are over 21 that are drinking beer.
The Beer Institute also keeps track of beer shipments. In 2011, Montana actually shipped less beer than it did in 2010. The Treasure State ranked 43rd with 956,133 31 gallon barrels of beer (about 1,912,000 kegs) shipped, down from 971,947 barrels (about 1,944,000 kegs) in 2010. California shipped the most with 21,805,539 31 gallon barrels of beer in 2011.
Check out the stats from 2003-2011 here.
- Matt Pritchard
Here’s a great summary of the issue of shipping Montana beer out of state by Kettlehouse Brewing Co.’s Tim O’Leary.
We get this request fairly frequently too. The short answer is: no.
The long answer: Remember (if you’re older than 50) when you could only get Coors west of the Mississippi? I still hear stories about somebody’s uncle traveling home with trunkloads of Coors.
Well that’s kind of like us now. You can only get our beer in Montana. We’re small and growing. But our growth is capped by a state law that limits our production to 10,000 bbls per year. A barrel is 31 gallons or two kegs. Well, technically we can produce and sell more than 10k bbls, but then we’d have to stop selling pints of beer in our taprooms. And we’re not willing to turn our backs on the very people who have made our brand grow. It would radically change our business model.
Shipping beer into other states is expensive. I’ve sent beer to competitions out of state and the shipping has been over $60 per case. When we ship beer to competitions we always have to mark “Live Yeast Samples” on the box because the common carriers will not ship beer or alcohol. At least that’s what they tell us. It can also be illegal to ship beer direct to customers in other states.
Finally, it sort of goes against what we think beer ought to be: fresh and locally made. Now we’ll never say never. Maybe we will eventually get that law changed and start to export Cold Smoke to other Mountain West states. But we have a long ways to go before we can produce enough to make it profitable to ship out of state through wholesale distributor channels. Montana is drinking all we can make for now. We’d have to build another brewery . . . Suzy would kill me. And hey man I just wanna live.
A friend of mine once described this Deschutes Brewing Co. beer as “like pouring a stack of pancakes out of a bottle.” And it’s true to an extent. This might be the thickest, maltiest, biggest brew you’ll ever drink. Maybe not. Regardless, if you haven’t tried it yet, you must. I’ve only ever seen it in this town once, long before the passage of HB400, which allows for a beer of this magnitude to be served.
You’ll find The Abyss at Worden’s Market, which also has a fine selection of new and interesting beers worth perusing, I might add, and The Good Food Store, which also has a fine selection of new and interesting beers to peruse.
As an added bonus, I think The Abyss would make a delightful breakfast beer on Christmas morning.
According to Big Sky Brewing Co.‘s December newsletter, the taproom should have some of the Bohemian Rhapsody Czech-Style Pilzner on soon. Check in often for details. Meanwhile, they continue to pour an excellent Belgian Brown and a Dark Mexican Lager in addition to their lineup of fine year-round beers.