Craft Breweries Booming in Columbia, U.S.
COLUMBIA - Some beer drinkers are continuing to change their preferences, going from beers like Coors Light to homegrown beers like those brewed at Flat Branch Pub and Brewing.
According to Beer Marketer's Insights, over the past five years Budweiser has seen a 28 percent decrease in domestic sales. That includes the most popular beer in America, Bud Light, whose sales have declined by 10 percent during that same time.
The craft beer scene is rising, especially in Columbia.
"From the emergence of Logboat Brewery to Broadway Brewery to Rock Bridge and Bur Oak, I mean we're really seeing a craft beer renaissance just here in Columbia," Owner of Craft Beer Cellar Jonathan Steffens said.
Including Flat Branch and the newly-opened Craft Beer Cellar, there are six ways to find local, craft beer in Columbia.
"It's a nice problem to have for one," Columbia Beer Enthusiast club member Jade Elwess said. "Just too many choices."
It's not just Columbia noticing this trend, though; craft breweries are popping up all across America.
As of 2013 there were more breweries in the U.S. than there had been since the 1870's, and in just the last six years, the number of microbreweries in the U.S. has almost tripled.
"We're now seeing cities actively bid to get breweries into their markets to brew in them because they are bringing a lot of local jobs and a lot of local tourism," Steffens said.
With all of the different places to buy craft beer, it would seem like a struggle to get people in the door, but Logboat CEO Tyson Hunt said all the distributors work together.
"It's certainly one of the most unique things about this industry," he said. "Just kind of the camaraderie, the working together. That aspect of hey, if we all work together we might be able to convert drinkers of domestic, light lager to craft beer."
Elwess said she has noticed the same thing.
"I think it's a way for businesses to support each other and really work together," she said. "I see it as more working together than it being a competition."
The idea of working together seems to be working quite well.
"The hardest thing for Logboat has been keeping up with demand and managing growth," Hunt said.
But that hasn't stopped him from thinking more breweries are on their way to Columbia.
"I think we're just scratching the surface of what we're going to see in this town and Missouri in general," he said. "This state is booming with craft beer, and so I think that each new brewery that comes on line, whether it's a brewery or a retailer that's selling craft beer, I think the options are going to keep expanding."
The Craft Beer Cellar opened December 18 as a retail store selling solely craft beer.
There are around 50 craft breweries in Missouri.