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Craft brew business is hopping

From the Des Moines Register

If you’re thinking that Iowa’s craft beer scene — or the national one — is just a hipster fad, or that the industry is floating on an increasingly fragile bubble or that the market just can’t sustain any more craft breweries, it looks like you’d better think again. At least that’s what most Iowa beer experts say: Craft beer is here to stay and that there’s plenty of space in the market to fill.

Since 2010, when Iowa law changed to allow brewers to make the higher alcohol styles of beer that craft brewers are interested in, craft breweries in Iowa have grown like, well, craft breweries — fast. The state now has about 55, up from the 25 that were around in 2010.

But it’s not just Iowa that’s along for the ride. According to the Brewer’s Association, a national group that tracks craft-beer brewing and sales, total U.S. beer sales were up .5 percent in 2014. In the same year, craft beer sales were up 17.6 percent. And a lot of that growth has happened since 2010.

The number of microbreweries increased 200 percent between 2010 and 2014; the number of regional breweries grew almost 70 percent; and brewpub openings grew by 34 percent. In Iowa alone, craft beer had $329 million economic impact in 2012. The numbers for 2013 and 2014 are expected to be much higher, according to the Brewer’s Association.

Wilson sees the key to success as “finding a niche within a niche. Everybody has a wheat beer and a pale ale,” he said, and focusing on bringing something new and high quality to market will help new breweries find their footing.

Read the full article here.

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