Leaders and Laggards in U.S. Brewing: Political Trajectories and Brewery Density

  • Bartholomew WatsonEmail author


Viewed at a national level, patterns of brewery density in the United States (U.S.) appear to simply mirror population density. However, when we begin comparing States, we find great divergence in the concentration of breweries, exceeding that of even more diverse economic and demographic regions like Europe. Digging deeper, a further puzzle emerges: these differences have largely persisted over time, starting during the emergence of small brewers, even as the rules and regulations concerning brewing have largely converged. This chapter explains this puzzle through a political lens, explaining how the interplay of economic interests, political coalitions, and regulatory conditions buttressed and enhanced first mover advantages. These political forces created a longer term trajectory wherein small brewers in leading states were able to preserve, and in many cases widen their advantages relative to other states.


Brewery density State regulation Historical trajectories American states 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brewers AssociationBoulderUSA

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