New Hampshire’s craft beer industry is brewing some big numbers.
Newly released data shows the number of craft breweries in the state has jumped by 33 percent since 2015.
With 5.6 craft breweries per 100,000 people, New Hampshire is among the top six states that have seen the most growth in recent years, according to an analysis of the nation’s craft beer industry by C+R Research, a Chicago-based marketing insights agency. (The per capita measurement for the study was per 100,000 adults over age 21.)
The research, which placed New Hampshire at No. 9 for states with the most craft breweries, included data compiled from the Brewers Association, a trade group, and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
The number of craft breweries nationwide has been on the rise for years. C+R Research reported about 1,500 craft brewery facilities in 2007, but that number reached nearly 7,000 by 2018.
603 Brewery in Londonderry is among the craft breweries that has grown since opening its doors in Campton in 2012.
Co-owner and marketing coordinator Tamsin Hewes said the brewery quickly outgrew its Campton location and water supply and moved to Londonderry in 2013.
Another expansion plan is now in the works. Hewes said the brewery will stay in Londonderry and hopes to open a new location this summer.
Hewes has watched the industry grow since the relocation. 603 Brewery was the only one in the area in 2013, she said, but there are now seven between Derry and Londonderry in addition to a meadery and distillery.
“We are very fortunate that we are surrounded by some excellent ‘brewering’ neighbors. For our local customers, traveling between the different stops can become a fun adventure from one brewery to the next,” she said.
With the rapid growth has come competition and other business challenges that have forced some breweries to shut their doors.
7th Settlement Brewery in Dover opened in 2013 but closed in December.
Neighborhood Beer Company in Exeter was shuttered in November amid financial troubles after just three years.
Joe Berwanger, who was the president and founder of Neighborhood Beer, has said that the brewery was one of the first 15 in the state when it opened, but by the time it closed there were more than 80.
“Running a small business is hard. … As more small breweries open, I think we’ll see more and more failing, but that is just the reality of running a small business. Some breweries will have the right mix of great beer and business acumen, and some won’t,” said Nicole Carrier, president and co-founder of Throwback Brewery in North Hampton.
Throwback started selling beer in a small warehouse space in North Hampton in 2011. The brewery moved its operation across the street to Hobbs Farm four years later and expanded to a 15-barrel brewery, opened a restaurant, and began farming the land.
Carrier said Throwback was the first nano brewery in the state with a tasting room. Nano breweries generally produce a few barrels or less.
“Small nano breweries were so novel, and now they are peppered across the state in all kinds of towns and locations,” Carrier said. “Over these years, our business transitioned from a small nano brewery to a brew pub, with a full farm-to-table restaurant and an active, working farm.”
Rek-lis Brewing Co. in the northern town of Bethlehem has undergone several expansions since it began brewing nearly three years ago and got a brewpub license.
“It’s paid off very well,” co-owner Marlaina Renton said.
Renton said larger breweries are realizing that people are turning to the smaller craft breweries.
While she believes there is a saturation level, Renton said having more breweries gives people a chance to take a tour.
“So far whatever growth we’ve had in this area has been good for all of us,” she said.
Meanwhile, Smuttynose Brewing Co. of Hampton has rebounded after financial struggles led to a foreclosure sale in March 2018.
“Things are really picking up for us,” said Aubree Giarrosso, the brewery’s events, retail and brand manager.
Smuttynose was among the first to brew in New Hampshire in 1994 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
“Even with this many breweries around our territory we’ve been able to grow over the last year, and I think a big part of that is being one of New Hampshire’s original craft breweries,” Giarrosso said. “I think each brewery is coming out with so many different and innovative things that we’re able to compete in the market together.”