NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Beer lovers know there's no list big enough to contain the number of breweries in the U.S. worth planning a vacation around.
Boy, did they let
Back in May, we published a list of
10 best craft beer vacation destinations
. While well-received in certain well-covered corners of the map, it elicited considerable consternation from jilted areas not only for what was included, but what wasn't.
Such things are to be expected in a growing industry. Craft brewing was up 11% by volume and 12% in sales last year, to $7.6 billion, according to the Brewers Association. More than 1,750 breweries operated for some or all of that year, giving the U.S. its largest pool of breweries since the late 1800s. Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, estimates that the majority of Americans live less than 10 miles from a brewery.
That's a lot of folks who feel their regions and breweries were wrongly left on the cutting-room floor and a lot of fans of the little guys -- including the 55 brewpubs and 97 microbreweries that opened last year -- who don't like seeing craft brewing big boys such as Sam Adams maker
, Magic Hat owner North American Breweries and the much-debated Yuengling hog the spotlight while states with solid craft beer credentials get skipped.
In many cases, they had a point. Our list left out some of the states with the most craft brewers per capita in America and some breweries that not only bolstered the craft beer movement, but built themselves into vacation destinations where games, outdoor movies and bike events are as big of a community contribution as the beer they brew. To help make amends, we've complied a list of five craft beer vacation destinations we either left out or overlooked. While we realize this may never be enough and that there's always more exploring to do when it comes to local beer, the conversation couldn't continue without at least acknowledging these extremely worthy destinations: