Montana's 45th brewery, I got curious and did a little calculating. Montana has been teetering back and forth with our distant neighbor to the west, Oregon, with who ranks right behind Vermont (#1) in breweries-per-capita. What I discovered, unofficially, is that we just overtook Oregon to become #2.
We were number two back in 2011, but today the Brewer's Association ranks Montana #3 (based on 2013 metrics). Since I had not the patience to wait until the end of 2014, I wanted to see where we were today. Here's what I found:
Using the same data at the Brewers Association, which is assigning the "capita" as those 21 and older in the state (since we're dealing with alcohol), the three states have the following populations of drinking-age individuals (taken from SuburbanStats.org, 2013 and 2014 data):
Now looking at the latest numbers of breweries for each state:
Vermont: 41 breweries (as of June 2014)
Montana: 45 breweries (as of July 30, 2014)
Oregon: 173 brewing companies (as of July 5, 2014)
By my math, this is how it pans out:
#1 - Vermont: one brewery per 11,058 people (21 and older)
#2 - Montana: one brewery per 15,695 people (21 and older)
#3 - Oregon: one brewery per 15,868 people (21 and older)
We edged out Oregon by less than 200 people, per-capita.
Now let's consider where Montana is headed. Assuming our population stays relatively the same through the end of 2014, and assuming that all the coming soon! breweries open by the end of the year, we'll jump up to 53 breweries! That bumps Montana to one brewery per 13,326 people of drinking age, and Oregon would have to hit 207 breweries to top us then.
If you're curious what it would take to reach #1, I did that calculation too. We'd have to have 64 breweries in operation, assuming Vermont doesn't open any more breweries. Think we'll get there?
P.S. We are number one for something. Montana has more bars per 100,000 people than any other state (59.30 bars per 100k to be exact). So the next time someone gets concerned that we have too many breweries, tell them there's 15 places that pour those beers for everyone one brewery that makes them.