Indiana craft beer options expand since 2008

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By: J. C. Lee

Flickr / Quinn Dombrowski

There are a greater number of Indiana craft breweries which are filling the glasses of Hoosiers.

A craft brewery is a small batch brewer that makes less than a 186 million gallons per year. The Associated Press reports that there were fewer than 10 craft breweries throughout the state in 2008, but the number has since grown to 71 as of last April. There will be another 32 craft breweries opening later this year.

Craft beer sales are only a drop in the ocean of overall beer sales, just three percent in 2013. However, craft brewers sold 226 million gallons of craft beer in the first half of 2013. They only sold 198 gallons a year before.

There were only 89 breweries in the United States in the late 1970s, the lowest point in U.S. brewing outside of Prohibition. The beer industry was consolidated to only 44 beer companies by the end of the decade and industry experts predicted that there would soon only be five, according to craft-brewing trade group Brewers Association.

With the limited choices in taste and size, craft brewing began to take off. There were 2,538 breweries operating in the United States last year compared to the 1,500 U.S. breweries operating in 2000. Ninety-seven percent of those breweries are craft brewers, according to the Associated Press.

One of those Indiana breweries is Elkhart’s Iechyd Da brewery. Owners Chip and Summer Lewis were brewing 200 gallons per week when the brewpub opened in June 2012, and they are now up to 400 gallons per week. That’s only going to increase when they open their patio by mid-June.

If all these numbers are making you thirsty, several Michiana bars and breweries are celebrating American Craft Beer Week with a selection of delicious, cold beers. The Elkhart Truth columnist Eric Strader offers a few suggestions of places to visit to quench your thirst in celebration of craft beers.

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