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Is the Census Bureau underestimating American breweries?
Getty Images
Getty Images

The number of breweries in America leapt from 398 in 2007 to a whopping 869 in 2012, according to the Census Bureau. That is, unless the number of breweries actually rose far higher — say, to almost 2,500.

That's the figure — 2,456 to be precise — the Brewers Association cites in its 2012 data on U.S. breweries. So what gives? Why the disparity? According to BA Director Paul Gatza, the gulf is primarily the result of the Census Bureau not counting brewpubs — of which there were more than 1,100 in 2012 — because "they see these primarily as food and beverage establishments and not the breweries they are."

Meanwhile, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which oversees the beer industry, counts every company that brews and sells beer. Their brewery list, according to Gatza, now contains some 3,000 entires.

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