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Liquid Gold: More craft beer companies pouring into Cincinnati

Liquid gold: more craft beer companies pouring into Cincinnati (WKRC)
Liquid gold: more craft beer companies pouring into Cincinnati (WKRC)
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CINCINNATI (WKRC) - They're pouring into the Greater Cincinnati area like fine-crafted beer. You might call it liquid gold.

The brewpub industry in Southwest Ohio is overflowing – it has increased eight-fold in the past eight years.

Guys like Dave Emery, who started in his garage, and is opening Big Ash Brewing in Anderson Township in early September, are a part of the movement.

"Eight years ago we got 28 guys together, each chipped in 200 bucks and we bought some equipment and some ingredients and we all started brewing together,” says Emery.

Just down the Little Miami River in California, Ohio, you'll find another group of entrepreneurs pouring their hearts into a new brewpub, Dead Low Brewing, scheduled to open in late September.

"We really wanted a community destination that could serve a wide variety of people,” says Dead Low Brewing’s Christine Hall.

The Ohio Craft Brewers Association reported in 2018 that craft brewers contributed a $967 million and 8,300 jobs to the Ohio economy. In 2011 there were 45 independent breweries in Ohio, now there are more than 300.

Greater Cincinnati is home to 55 of them.

Nationwide, Food & Wine reported the cities with the greatest thirst for breweries are Portland, Maine with 18 breweries per 50,000 people, Asheville, North Carolina, with 17 per 50,000 and Bend, Oregon with 16.

Cincinnati is 25th, with 6 breweries per 50,000 residents. You might think that those already in business in the area would be upset to see startups flooding the market. But that's not the case. They say the more beer the better.

"We keep on the path we're on and hopefully you have people coming from all over the United States to come see this great thing we have going on in Cincinnati," said 50 West Brewing Company’s Bobby Slattery.

Slattery said it's not just about a creative menu and crafting beer, it's about creating a community.

"Our bike shop, our running group, our canoeing and kayaking, our volleyball league. We like to come up with as many ways we can bring that community together and at the end of the day we hope you end up with a beer."

Jerry and Karen Weber agree. We caught up with them as they were heading into 50 West for lunch. They say they appreciate the local nature of the restaurant, and of course, the beer.

"I love the beers. I love the variety,” says Karen. “And they're fresh,” adds Jerry.

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Ohio is the fourth largest independent beer producer in the country, crafting 43 million gallons of beer in 2018, mostly fueled by our three biggest breweries - Samuel Adams, Great Lakes and Rhinegeist.

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