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US. Demand For Craft Beer Boosts Local Brewery

Demand for locally-produced beer is growing across the country, and here in the Mid-South it's fueling the expansion of a brewery in Memphis.
"We need to increase our refrigeration space, and increase our production capabilities in terms of extra boilers, more fermentation tanks, so we have more time and space to age the beers," said Chuck Skypeck, founding partner of Ghost River Brewing.
The brewery churns out 100 kegs a week, Skypeck said. Expansion will double production to 10,000 kegs a year.
"That extra 5,000 kegs we're brewing will go into 12-ounce bottles rather than into kegs," Skypeck said. "So that opens up a lot of new markets for us."
He said the growing demand for locally-produced beer bucks national beer consumption trends, and has kept Ghost River busy filling orders for 110 bars and restaurants in Memphis and northern Mississippi.
"There are 1500 breweries right now in the United States," Skypeck pointed out, "and most of those are small local breweries like Ghost River. The market for craft beer nationally has grown as much as 9 percent, even in the face of the face of the recession and declining beer sales nationally. Our sales were up 40 percent last year."
He said craft beers and local breweries "are finally starting to resonate with our customers."
"People are beginning to realize that craft beer is a local product," Skypeck said. "Just like the drive for locally-grown vegetables and locally-raised beef - people are beginning to realize ‘hey, freshness makes a difference in beer too.'"
29 Jan. 2011

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