The United States loves its craft beer, but upstate New York seems to love it even more.
The number of craft brewers has just about doubled nationally since 2010. But of the 28 breweries I surveyed for The List, 16 have opened their doors since 2010. Put another way: 57 percent of the area's craft brewers are less than 5 years old or younger.
Greene County is a good example of just how fast the craft beer market is growing.
Right now, there are five operating breweries in the county. The newest of the crop — Rip Van Winkle Brewing Co. — didn't get surveyed for The List. The reason? It wasn't open for business when they started gathering the data for The List early in March. Crossroads Brewing Company in Athens, NY received a $200,000 grant and $240,000 loan from the county to assist their efforts, and Honey Hollow Brewing Company in Earlton, NY was a MAP grant/loan recipient. The building housing Cave Mountain Brewery in Windham, NY was refurbished through a Main Street Revitalization grant.
Later this year, a sixth brewery will be opening in the county: Hunter Mountain Brewery.
Capitalizing on that momentum, the brewers (along with other beverage producers) want to form a Greene County Beverage Trail, says Greene County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jeff Friedman. The idea would be similar to the Adirondack Craft Beverage Trail.
The county is also the site of TAP New York, which bills itself as the largest craft beer festival in New York. The event has been held for the past 17 years at Hunter Mountain and this year, 100 or more state breweries are expected to be on hand.
"As you can see, this is a thriving Greene County industry and an important economic driver for us," Friedman said.
And judging by the upstate trend, there will be plenty of new breweries to survey for next year's Craft Brewers List.