The other day I had a quick keep-it-to-less-than-140-characters exchange with a professional brewer not in St. Louis. He asked, in view of the number of relatively new breweries and additional ones about to open here, how many I think the region can support. I copped out and answered I’m too new to town to guess.Always keen to promote Oregon, I'll offer a few benchmarks. (Keeping in mind that no macro-breweries Portland/Oregon is different from notable macro St Louis/Missouri.) Based on our fair city (population 583,776, forty breweries) and state (population 3,831,074, ninety-one brewing companies), Stan's new home could support 22 breweries in St. Louis or 142 in Missouri. The actual numbers are 11 and 39 respectively.
In fact, it is nearly always the case that mental ceilings placed on the number of breweries a state can support or amount of craft beer it will buy are lower than totals already enjoyed in Oregon. More than 15% of the beer sold in Oregon is craft-brewed. If the rest of the US matched this mark, the volume of craft beer would be 30.6 million barrels sold--in 2010, the actual figure was 10 million. Maybe the rest of the country won't ever reach this point (though there's not a shred of evidence to suggest why), but clearly, it's got a lot of room to grow.
Sources: Oregon Brewers Guild for Oregon stats, Wikipedia for population stats, and Beer Me! and VisitMo.com for Missouri stats.