The craft beer industry contributed more than 79 billion dollars to the U.S. economy in 2018, according to The Brewers Association.
There are 18 breweries in North Dakota, and one owner says he sees the growing interest in craft beer, first hand.
Last year, the average adult over 21 years old spent 515 dollars on the craft-beer industry in North Dakota.
More than $282,000,000 dollars was spent statewide.
“Do you prefer craft or commercial beer?”
“Uh, craft. Mom and pop stuff, I guess. I like to support mom and pop, not big business,” said Andrew Hauser.
Ken Doane said, “I would prefer commercial, just cause of availability and cost, but craft beer is still good too!”
William Ringham added, “It depends upon the occasion. If it’s more of a barbecue type-setting then probably commercial, but if I’m just sitting at home then I like craft beer, I like porters.”
“Budlight is what I drink, or Coors Light,” said Scott Peterson.
So, maybe not everyone is drinking craft beer.
But, according to The Brewers Association, the industry is bringing in billions of dollars and even hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide. Data was collected through a three-tier system – breweries, wholesalers and retailers.
Aaron Thompson opened Souris River Brewing back in December of 2012.
“It’s not just us, it’s all over the state,” Thompson said. “The brewers association is absolutely right, craft beer growth is taking over a larger and larger share of the overall beer market.”
The brewery is now up to crafting more than 80 styles of beer and continuing to experiment with new beers, thanks to high demand.
“When we first opened, the guy who drank Bud Light was maybe the majority of persons sitting at our tables eating dinner and the two or three guys that were here to enjoy craft beer were maybe getting hazed by their buddies, and that has completely flipped over the years,” said Thompson.
Now, the usual once-a-week brew is sometimes up to three times a week – just to keep up. The brewery is filling more growlers, and the canning process just started six months ago, but SRB can barely keep up with that – which is a pretty good problem to have, for now.
Thompson said, “There’s nothing more fun than showing you can actually support your local economy in a real way.”
And speaking of supporting your local economy, not only is the beer brewed at a local establishment, but the ingredients are local, too.
Thompson said that’s a perk for North Dakota breweries that not many other states have, having all the agriculture that we do.
Down to hops, wheat, barley, and fruit used in some beers, more and more brewers are able to make full-blown, North Dakota brewed beer.
And if you want to give an array of North Dakota beers a try you can, of course, go to your favorite brewery, OR the North Dakota Brewers Guild is hosting it’s very first Oktoberfest in Minot next weekend.
The event is Saturday, October 11, 6 – 9 pm at the Clarion Hotel. Click here for tickets.