It's a question I hear frequently: How many breweries is too many breweries?

It's logical to ask, considering the seemingly ever-growing scene nationwide and in Wisconsin. After reaching a record high last year, in 2016 the number of breweries in America passed another milestone, reaching 5,005 by the end of November. 

The Madison area added two more brewpubs this year -- welcome, Rockhound and Lone Girl -- and the once underdeveloped Milwaukee craft scene enjoyed a veritable explosion with at least seven new breweries, some of which are already beginning to make waves on this end of I-94.

Many of the state's existing breweries pushed into new markets, added equipment and capacity and staff to make it all work. 

So are are small, independent brewers growing on a bubble?

Absolutely not, and the reason why is on display at every Brewers or Packers game, at nearly every bar and nearly every grocery store: The vast majority of this country still drinks a ton of boring beer made by the biggest breweries. As long as the choices continue to abound and small brewers keep bringing their A games like they did with the beers featured below, minds are going to continue to be changed. 

Cheers, and see you in 2017.

Chris Drosner writes the Beer Baron column for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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