I get asked this question a lot. Next to “What’s your favorite beer?” and “Is this your job?” The question of how many breweries there are in Cincinnati is one of the most popular things that people love to ask me when they meet me and find out what I do.

It’s also not really easy to answer.

There are a lot of things that you need to answer before you get a good number to spout off. If you want to skip all my math and explanation, you can always, of course, just go straight to my brewery chart for the complete list of taprooms.

But… as I was instructed in fifth grade – you always have to show your work, so here you go. (last updated on 11/26/23)

What’s Cincinnati?

If we want to figure out how many breweries Cincinnati has, we must be clear about what Cincinnati is. We’ve got a unique city and a unique beer scene in that it’s all pretty spread out compared to other cities our size.

I’m not just talking about the city limits either… because once you understand Cincinnati, you can clearly understand that our city is a much bigger picture than just her city limits.

When I came up with my “rules,” I also looked into how far away other cities around us were… namely Dayton. If Dayton has its own “beer scene” (clearly, it does), what breweries are part of that community vs. are a part of ours? Springboro has a couple of breweries now, and as arbitrary as it might be, I consider that part of Dayton (for now).

In all of this confusing, and some would say meaningless rule creation – I came up with what I think is a pretty solid rule to follow… 35ish Miles from downtown Cincy is part of Cincinnati. I even go as far as to throw the ‘ish’ in there to leave a little wiggle room… clever, huh?

What Defines A Brewery?

Ok – so we know where Cincinnati is and where it isn’t. We nailed that part, didn’t we? Next, we have to figure out what places are breweries and what aren’t.

That sounds easy enough.

Hah! You don’t think that, do you? The craft beer community is going nuts right now. We’ve got production facilities with taprooms, production spaces without taprooms, taprooms without breweries, and taprooms with tiny little breweries that only get fired up once a year for license purposes. It’s all complicated.

I had to come up with some rules on this front, too.

My criteria are pretty straightforward. If you’re making beer in Cincinnati, and it’s being sold for someone to drink – you’re a brewery. That gets a little complicated with a couple of places. It’s complicated because we’ve got a couple of taprooms in town (and a taproom is its own “thing” that I could write about) that technically have brewing permits and “technically” make some amount of beer in a given year – but I don’t count them.

If I see even one beer being sold that was made in one of those taprooms, I will change their category from ‘taproom’ to ‘brewery with a taproom’ in a jiffy.

Also… there are tasting rooms. BJs is our finest example. We’ve got three different BJs locations around town. BJs is a brewery, a craft brewery, even. But they don’t make their beer here, so they don’t count.

Why Does It Matter?

Oh… here’s the big question of the day. Why does anyone care what that number is? At the end of the day, the biggest reason is a simple one – it’s about bragging rights. That doesn’t mean that there are more things within that. Think of how many lists you see that will tell you about the “10 cities with the most craft breweries” or the “Best beer towns in the USA” or whatever. You know the ones I’m talking about, like this – or this.

These provide much-needed attention to a city. They provide beer tourism. The more people in our city drink beer, the better it will get, and the stronger the community around it will get.

That’s why it’s essential.

So… How Many Breweries Does Cincinnati Have?

Using my criteria, I count 72. I fully recognize that this number is debatable. Using my criteria, places with two locations (both that brew beer) get two numbers. Miller has a brewery in Trenton up in Butler County – it counts. On the other side of the coin, both BrewDog and North High have taprooms that technically have brewing permits – they don’t count. BJs? They’ve got several taprooms, but they don’t make their beer here or even have brewing permits. You know that doesn’t count. It gets even more complicated, too.

Places like MadTree are working their butts off in multiple locations, but one is just for barrels, even with a brewing permit. They’re not making it there, so it doesn’t get another number. Rhinegeist, on the other hand, has a distribution warehouse that hides a test batch brewhouse – we’re counting that one.

Feel free to message me and tell me why I’m wrong, but in the meantime, let’s look at how we stack up.

How Does It All Break Down?

Breweries, Taprooms, Local, Not Local… it’s all very confusing. Here’s the breakdown of what is happening in this city!

Breweries With On-Site Taprooms Or Brewpubs66
Taprooms, Without Production onsite, but with local production.12
Taprooms, Without Production onsite, but without local production.7
Beer Production, But Without a Taproom5

Local Brewery Map

Looking to grab a beer tonight? You can hit up my Ultimate list of Cincinnati Breweries – or just skip ahead and use this map to find out what the closest place to you right now is!

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