All hail Howell, Brewpub Capital of America

These days, beer is big business, especially in Howell.

If Jed Clampett were out shooting’ for some food in these parts, up from the ground would come a bubblin’ crude: Beer, that is; sudsy gold; Howell tea.

How big is beer in these parts?

Howell can easily claim the title of Brewpub Capital of America, a crown I am sure it will wear with understandably hopped-up pride.

The old Post Office/Ann Arbor Railroad building at 121 S. Walnut Street in downtown Howell is set to become the area’s fourth brewpub when it opens, and there’s a fifth in the area proposed for a vacant office building at the American Concrete Products site on Mason Road.

According to Craft Brewing, Michigan ranks fifth in the nation for number of breweries, and its number of 3.8 microbreweries per 100,000 people ranks 10th on its list of most breweries per resident.

That said, Michigan’s capital for brewpubs has long been considered Grand Rapids, which was named Best Beer Town in the country in 2014 by USA Today.

But that was before the Howell area became home to Eternity Brewing, Block Brewing Co., Aberrant Ales, and now the upcoming Old Post Brewing Company.

Grand Rapids’ 14 brewpubs for 196,445 people, equals 1 for every 14,032 people. That number is a smidge over 7 brewpubs per 100,000.


Howell can easily drink that number for lunch, based on its soon-to-be four breweries — or one for every 13,000 people in the area (based on population approximations for the area comprising the Howell Public Schools District).

And if we’re comparing strictly cities to cities, we’ve got to do a little reorienting of the numbers because there will be three brewpubs located within the Howell city limits, which shoots that number way, way up, to one per 3,160 residents, or 31.5 brewpubs per 100,000 people.

(I love math, and if I am as sharp at extrapolating as I was once, I think I’ve got all this figured right, but please leave a comment explaining where I went wrong, just in case I am.)

While those are huge numbers on the state level, consider the national stage:

The city of Portland, Maine, the recognized king of beers — has a population of just under 67,000 people and 17 microbreweries, or 25.5 breweries per 100,000 people, according to Smartasset, ranking it first in the nation.

Comparing mugs to mugs and with three breweries inside the Howell city limits, we’ll have 31.5 microbreweries per 100,000 people.

Take that, Portland, Maine.

All hail Howell.

This is great news for Howell, and it comes on the heels of Howell winning the prestigious Great American Main Street Award.

What’s next? A Howell Oktoberfest? Or Beerpalooza?

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Journalist Maria Stuart worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. These days, she runs The Livingston Post.