America hasn't had this many breweries since 1873

America’s brewery count hit an all-time high in 2015.

The number of operating breweries in the US rose to 4,269, a 15% increase from the year before, according to a report from The Brewers Association.

Small and independent breweries account for 99% of the breweries in operation, according to the report.

The last time there were this many breweries in the country was back in 1873 when most breweries were local due to lack of transportation and refrigeration, noted Bloomberg’s Anne Riley.

“Prior to the late 1800s, the market for breweries was essentially the distance a horse drawn cart could travel out and back in a day,” Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, told Bloomberg in an email.

As for why there has been a large spike in the number of breweries right now, one could argue that it has something to do with millennials shifting away from Big Beer.

Many younger drinkers increasingly prefer craft beer to big brands, which are perceived as inauthentic and corporate.

And for what it’s worth, small and independent craft brewers now represent 12% market share of the overall beer industry, according to The Brewers Association.

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