The website Housemethod.com analyzed social media data to determine the most popular craft breweries in each state around the country, including the Land of 10,000 Lakes and the Land of Beer & Cheese. Beside doing a state-by-state ranking, the site also ranked overall popularity nationwide of the top 150 breweries in the United States.

While I personally think their method of basing popularity solely on Yelp reviews, social media followers, and presence is a little dubious (compared to something like sales numbers, for example), social media popularity isn't something to scoff at completely.

So, what are the top breweries in Minnesota and Wisconsin according to this social media data, and where do they rank nationally?

Minnesota's top 5 breweries:

  1. Surly Brewing Co. - Minneapolis
  2. August Schell Brewing Co. - New Ulm
  3. Fair State Brewing Cooperative - Minneapolis
  4. Dangerous Man Brewing Co. - Minneapolis
  5. Bent Paddle Brewing Co. - Duluth

Wisconsin's top 5 breweries:

  1. New Glarus Brewing Co. - New Glarus
  2. Milwaukee Brewing Co. - Milwaukee
  3. Good City Brewing Co. - Milwaukee
  4. Potosi Brewing Co. - Potosi
  5. Central Waters Brewing Co. - Amherst

The site also ranked the top 150 breweries in the country, and strangely some of the most popular breweries on this national list don't show up on the state listings. They don't really specify why, but over half of the 5 breweries from Minnesota and Wisconsin on the top 150 list aren't among the top 5 most popular on the state-by-state rankings. Four Wisconsin breweries show up in the nationwide top 150, and two of them aren't on the statewide list. For Minnesota, only one brewery shows up on the nationwide top 150, but it isn't on the statewide top 5.

Here are the Minnesota and Wisconsin breweries that showed up in the nationwide top 150:

  • Milwaukee Brewing (Milwaukee, WI): #46
  • Good City Brewing (Milwaukee, WI): #50
  • Lupulin Brewing (Big Lake, MN): #103
  • Driftless Brewing (Soldiers Grove, WI): #127
  • Stillmank Brewing (Green Bay, WI) #132

Moving past the confusing and dubious results from Housemethod.com, I might add that there are some notable missing brands from Minnesota and Wisconsin that I would have guessed would be among the most popular in each state.

In Minnesota, I would have guessed Castle Danger Brewing would have made the most popular list. Their cream ale is a huge seller statewide, and actually has won statewide accolades and the popularity of their beer actually forced them to stop selling growlers due to a state law. I would have also guessed Third Street Brewhouse in Cold Spring, Fulton Beer in Minneapolis and Summit Brewing in St. Paul (though some might argue this isn't a "craft" brewery) would have made the list. All of these breweries were top producers in recent rankings of barrels produced in the state.

On the Wisconsin side of things, brands like Minhas Brewery in Monroe, Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point, and Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee were all similarly top producers in recent rankings by production volume, yet notably missing on the state and national popularity rankings.

In the end, the good news for beer lovers in our part of the world is that there are such a wealth of delicious options to pick from. Whether they be big brands like Surly or New Glarus, or smaller, more niche productions only available in one bar or small brewery, good craft beer availability is at an all-time high, and I'm a fan.