CINCINNATI -- The Buckeye State is getting big on booze as state officials report a boom in the number of beverage businesses.
The Ohio Division of Liquor Control reports that there are 579 licenses for alcohol manufacturing in the state -- an all-time high for Ohio.
The state said that’s nearly double the number from five years ago. The licenses include crafters of liquor, beer and wine.
State officials credit a “business friendly” regulatory environment and the popularity of products such as craft beer or artisan liquor as a reason for the uptick. Officials also credited an improved economy.
“These businesses produce high quality, world-class products made right here in Ohio, many with locally sourced ingredients,” Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams said via release. “They benefit the state by offering the kind of products Ohio consumers want and contributing to job creation and economic growth.”
The largest slice of that manufacturer pie goes to the wine industry. Officials said there are 232 licensed wine makers in the state.
Ohio craft brewers are next with a total of 156 licenses. Micro distillers are the last group with 31 licenses.
State workers said they have issued 29 new craft brewery licenses, 21 winery licenses and four micro distillery licenses so far this year. There are also pending licenses in each category.
Officials said so far the state has collected $40.2 million in permit fees for fiscal year 2015.