TALLAHASSEE, FL. (WTXL) - The popularity of Craft Beer is growing and so are the number of options for beer drinkers. Florida is seeing a beer brewing boom and with legislation easing on some restrictions, that means big bucks for the state and more choices for consumers.
Big brand names, such as Miller-Coors and Budweiser have dominated the beer market for decades but as beer drinkers want for something new or something more, the craft beer industry is experiencing major growth with breweries popping up all across Florida and the country.
Byron Burroughs with Proof Brewing Co. says, "Just like slow food took off and people became very ingrained into supporting local businesses and eating a purer cleaner product and then therefore supporting local restaurants who the supported those products, it falls inline with the same thing. If you're going to watch what you eat you should watch what you drink."
According to Burroughs, Florida has a low market share when it comes to the Craft Beer industry. The market is an estimated $19.6-billion business nation wide. According to the Brewers Association, more than 3,400 U.S. breweries operated for all of 2014, 99% of those were small and independent craft brewers. And as tweaks to legislation like the Growler Bill continue, so will the possibilities for growth in the industry.
According to Michael Carbonell with Growler Country, "You have a booming industry, where breweries are opening up daily in Florida and it's not going to slow down."
But Craft Beer is not a new concept.
Sarah Bridegroom with HomeBrew Den, says, "There have been people who have been interested in home brewing for many many years. The recent surge in Craft Beer drinking and Craft Beer making probably has peaked a little bit more interest in home beer making."
As the Craft Beer Craze takes shape another industry seeing growth is retail shops dealing with home brew supplies. Folks like Terry Burnside are able to take their passion for brewing beer home with them.
Burnside says, "The core of this and the important part is the sugar that's in the Malt. This is what the yeast are going to eat and turn sugar into alcohol.
With breweries popping up daily throughout the region, some are worried about the quality of brew hitting the market. Gabe Grass with Grasslands Brewing Co. believes it's all about brewing an environmentally friendly beer, leaving as little of a foot print on the environment as possible.
According to Grass, "Florida is kind of behind the rest of the country. I think we are on the top five for the number of breweries in the state per state but we are on the bottom five for number of breweries per one-million residence."
So as the popularity of Craft Beer continues to grow so will the market in Florida and South Georgia, at least that's what many of the breweries popping up now are banking on. They're hoping the next time you order that beer its a craft beer.