The nationwide thirst for locally brewed craft beer is alive and well in Nebraska, where citizens consumed nearly one million gallons of in-state brewed beer in 2015, according to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission. That one million gallons is twice as much as was consumed in 2010.
The growing demand for craft beer is good for the state’s economy. From brewing equipment companies to expanding breweries to hops farms, the trend is creating jobs and generating revenue within the state.
“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a big surge in the number of craft breweries in the state,” says Mat Habrock, assistant director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. He notes that the number of breweries has increased from 17 in 2011 to 33 in 2016. The state also has 12 hops growers serving the industry.
In early 2016, state legislation signed by the governor created the Nebraska Craft Brewery Board. The board will administer the Nebraska Beer Industry Promotional Fund to develop and maintain programs for the research and advancement of the beer brewing process, the marketing and promotion of the state’s beer industry and its agricultural products and byproducts.
The seven-member board includes two members from the Nebraska Craft Brewers Guild, two from the Associated Beverage Distributors of Nebraska and three at-large members. The revenue for the promotional fund is generated from license fees and will be used to fund selected proposals that strengthen the craft beer and hops industries.
Habrock says he expects the state’s craft beer industry to continue to grow.
“This is another example of the strength and diversity of Nebraska’s ag industry,” Habrock says. “Consumers want to meet and know the people who grow their products, and the craft beer industry is no different. Consumers want to know how the beer is produced.”