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10 Best Beer States of 2011

6. New York
Number of breweries: 59
Capita per brewery: 328,442
Production in 2010:10.3 million barrels
Consumed per capita in 2010: 16.5 gallons
This is an easy choice to knock. Only Connecticut (16.2 gallons) and Utah (12.4) drink less beer per capita than New York does. Those two states still have a higher capita per brewery ratio than New York, which ranks ahead of only 10 other states and trails Rhode Island and South Dakota despite each of those states having only four breweries apiece.

So what's New York doing here? It comes down to two factors: outcome and potential. New York produces the fourth most beer in America, but the two states directly in front of it -- Florida with 12.7 million barrels and Texas with 19.4 million -- have even worse brewery-to-human ratios. Texas, despite having Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors facilities and a cool 431,000 barrels a year from Shiner Bock producer Spoetzl, still has less than one brewery for every 500,000 Texans.

New York, meanwhile, gets a big boost from the A-B plant in Baldwinsville and from Labatt's U.S. headquarters in Buffalo but also has a lot of help from Rochester-based North American Breweries. The holding company is based out of Genesee Brewing headquarters and still produces cans of Genny Cream Ale, but also includes Dundee Brewing, Vermont-based Magic Hat, Seattle-based Pyramid and Portland, Ore.-based MacTarnahan's in its portfolio. Collectively, the NAB brands grew 6.8%, to nearly 2.3 million barrels worth of production in 2010.

That's just the frothy head on New York's big brew, as F.X. Matt Brewery, which produces the Saranac line, contributes another 182,000 barrels and Brooklyn Brewery has nearly doubled its output from 58,000 barrels in 2006 to 108,000 last year. With smaller players like Brooklyn's Six Point and Long Island's Blue Point quickly gaining consumers and craft credibility, New York seems the most likely among the big-brewing states to slide its production up above the 0.2% growth of the past decade.

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