All hail the golden god! Today, April 7, is National Beer Day, and Cincinnati has plenty of reasons (and breweries) to celebrate. Here are nine trends and stories that show why.
Ever want a cold beer but not want to get off the couch? Amazon began offering Prime members two-hour free delivery of “hundreds of alcohol-related products,” including craft beer from Rhinegeist, MadTree Brewing and Great Lakes Brewing Co., in March. The only catch? Amazon's deliveries are limited to Ohio.
Cincinnatians are so thirsty for craft beer that breweries, especially the smaller ones, could be facing a hops shortage. Farmers cannot grow the hops (a small green plant) used to brew beer fast enough to meet demand. WCPO contributor Liz Engel reported in March on what impact a potential shortage of hops could mean for the local beer market.
The potential for a hops shortage is not stopping new breweries from opening in the region. Nine Giant, Brink, Wooden Cask Brewing, Darkness, Streetside, Fig Leaf, Queen City, Municipal Brew Works and Narrow Path breweries all have opened since National Beer Day 2016. More breweries will soon join the list: Fretboard Brewing, Northern Row Brewing & Distilling, 13 Below Brewing, West Side Brewing, Sonder Brewing and Humble Monk Brewing all have announced plans to open this year, and a building that was once part of the historic Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. complex in Over-the-Rhine will become home to a new craft brewery and distillery this summer.
A lot of beer lovers already have a favorite brewery in Cincinnati, and it shows. Within the past year MadTree Brewing opened its new taproom and production facility in Oakley, Rivertown Brewery added the Monroe Barrel House as a second location, Fifty West Brewing opened its new Production Works facility, Taft’s Ale House is working on opening a second production facility and Braxton Brewing announced in March plans to expand into the former Ei8ht Ball Brewing space.
5. Local breweries get national kudos
Rhinegeist gained craft beer publication Brewhound's attention in February, when the publication reported the Over-the-Rhine brewery had increased its beer production by 80 percent in 2016. MadTree also received love from Inc.com, which shared how the Oakley brewery's owners took unconventional steps to succeed.
People who like a little more kick to their beer loved changes the state of Ohio made to its brewing laws. In August the state scrapped caps on alcohol content for beer, meaning brewers are free to increase alcohol by volume in their beers.
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber introduced a new festival in November geared specifically toward local craft beers. Organizers designed Ale to the Queen City, which featured 16 breweries, to appeal to beer fans returning to Cincinnati for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Now that baseball season has returned, so have craft beers that pay homage to the Cincinnati Reds. Braxton, MadTree, Rhinegeist and DogBerry all released beers inspired by the country’s first professional baseball team in time for Opening Day.
Budweiser also recognized the city’s baseball heritage this year, asking local artist Zack Mueller to design a Reds-themed can label. Those cans are on sale now throughout Greater Cincinnati.