The number of U.S. breweries is forecast to swell to 9,200 in the next two years, according to a Brewers Association (BA) report. There are currently more than 7,600 breweries in the U.S.

Using the BA’s brewery database and TTB permit data, BA chief economist Bart Watson predicts nearly 2,000 breweries will open by this time in 2021. He writes that “our two methods of analysis suggest somewhere between 1,900-2,400 openings in the next two years.” But, he adds, “[a]ny forecasting analysis is going to rely on current trend data, and trends can shift pretty quickly.”

In other words, the rate at which breweries are closing and opening may change, but the data shows that many Americans still see opening a brewery as a viable option.

Nine thousand breweries is an alarmingly high number — how can we possibly consume all that beer? — but it could be good for the beer industry overall. The fastest-growing breweries aren’t the ones casting a wide distribution net, they’re the “mom and pop” operations keeping their beer close to home. These are incredible outposts of talent and community, and to these, I say the more the merrier.

A-B Patagonia Trademark Motion Denied

On Tuesday, a California federal judge reportedly denied Anheuser-Busch’s motion to dismiss the dilution claim from a trademark lawsuit filed by Patagonia, Inc. over A-B’s Patagonia Beer.

In April, Patagonia sued Anheuser-Busch for “hijacking” its brand by marketing its Patagonia beer with strikingly similar imagery to the clothing company. As VinePair reported, A-B has been selling its Cerveza Patagonia in Argentina for several years. Additionally, A-B launched Cerveza Patagonia in 13 U.S. states last month, Brewbound reports.

Although A-B registered the Patagonia trademark in the U.S. in 2012, Patagonia and the federal court seem to agree it has “deliberately tried to confuse customers into thinking that Patagonia Cerveza is produced by Patagonia, rather than Anheuser-Busch,” Rob Tadlock, Patagonia general counsel, told Law360. I don’t think this will hit A-B too hard, considering its breadth of brands and capital. That said, it looks like it’ll have to use said resources and talent to create a new marketing strategy for Cerveza Patagonia – one that doesn’t step on Patagonia, Inc.’s toes.

Narragansett Closes on New R.I. Home

Neighborly Narragansett announced it will open a new brewery, taproom, and outdoor beer garden in Providence, R.I., in spring 2020.

The new facility will comprise an acre-sized site where it will produce 2,500 barrels of beer per year. The majority of Narragansett’s beer production, which exceeds 100,000 barrels of beer per year, will continue at the Guild facility, a craft cooperative in Pawtucket, R.I., Providence Journal reports.

“We could not be more excited about bringing brewing operations back to Rhode Island in such a perfect location,” Mark Hellendrung, president of Narragansett Beer, said in a news release.

I see this as a bit of a homecoming for Narragansett. The beloved brand has a long history of openings and closings since its original debut in 1890 and its 21st-century revival in 2005. It didn’t return to its home state until 2017. It’s great to see it find a space where it can serve its “neighbors” again.