Best States for Beer Lovers: Illinois

This Friday is National Beer Day and an survey showed that Illinois is the No. 3 state in the country for beer.

There are breweries all over the state of Illinois, but in the Chicago area alone you could try a different brewery every Friday night for four years without tasting the same suds. As of 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Chicago metropolitan area had more breweries than any similar city area in the country.

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Memory Lane

The oldest surviving brewery building in Illinois was originally the home of Peacock Brewery in 1857 and is now the home of Prairie Street Brewing. There were Illinois beermakers before Peacock, but the Great Chicago Fire took them all out.

The state’s largest breweries are Maplewood Brewing, Pipeworks Brewing, and Hop Butcher for the World, all in Chicago.  The best beers in the state, according to, are Bourbon County Stout and Bourbon County Stout – Coffee, from Goose Island Beer in Chicago, Pips Blue Suede Shews from Pips Meadery in Gurnee, Revolution V.S.O.J. from Revolution Brewing in Chicago, and Wooden Hell from Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery in Flossmoor. Goose Island Beer is so popular in the state it reportedly outsells Budweiser – no mean feat, something that would be an upset at Illinois sportsbooks.

As for awards, at the 2022 Beer World Cup, Moon Rocks from Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville won a silver medal in the Session India Pale Ale category. Other Illinois brewers have won gold medals in the past and even more different brewers have medaled in domestic and Midwest competitions. There’s a lot of quantity and quality beer being brewed in Illinois.

Best States For Beer Lovers

Overall RankStateQuality Ranking Quantity RankingAffordability RankingTotal Average
T6New York1230315
T8Rhode Island2222416
T8North Carolina2318716
15New Hampshire3481318.3

Mark Your Calendars

For National Beer Day, some of the events in Illinois include events at Noon Whistle Brewing in Lombard, Plank Road Tap Room in Elgin, Mariano’s Ravenswood in Chicago, and Flossmoor Station in Flossmoor. But feel free to take a brief break from Illinois sports betting apps to check your local listings for more events and beer tastings throughout the state.

Then from May 19-26, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild will host its annual Craft Beer Week, highlighted by Beer Under Glass at Chicago’s Union Station, featuring more than 100 Illinois breweries.

And there are always beer tours in Chicago and throughout the state, including a bus tour through the breweries of Southern Illinois, and a self-guided brewery tour through St. Charles and a half dozen more breweries to visit in Decatur.

Illinois’ 6.25% sales tax also applies to beer and beer vendors also must pay a 23-cent per gallon excise tax. Chicago also adds its own beer tax of 29 cents per gallon and yet the city’s brewing industry remains robust. Beer/cider tax revenue in the state is north of $200 million annually, so beer remains big business in the state.


With National Beer Day arriving on April 7, we decided to look at the best states to celebrate in if you are a big fan of beer. When it comes to determining the best, we looked quality, quantity and affordability. utilized 3 combined data points to develop the ranking of the 50 states from best to worst states for beer lovers. We utilized to get the average rating of beers brewed in the state (ratings given out of 5), to get the amount of breweries per capita (per 100,000 residents) and for the average price of a 24-pack per state. Once acquiring that information, we averaged out the ranking of the states to get our final rankings.

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Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the Illinois casino and sports betting market for Before his focus on U.S. sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of

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