Brewery total continues to rise in Delaware, nation

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Work is under way on Iron Hill's third Delaware brewery near Rehoboth.

The Brewers Association reported that that the number of breweries in the U.S. has risen to 6,000.

“Craft brewers continue to thrive if at a slower pace, fueled by a passionate community dedicated to bringing innovation, jobs, and beer across America—on Main Street and beyond,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “Today, 83 percent of the population lives within 10 miles of a local brewery, meaning that the positive impact of breweries is being felt in communities all over the country.”

Delaware has seen continuing growth in the number of breweries in recent years, with nearly 20 now open, with three or more openings in 2018. See graphic below on economic impact of industry.

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Opening next month is Midnight Oil Brewing Company, Glasgow, which will hold a grand opening party on Jan. 20. A pre-opening event is sold out.

Delaware is the home of Dogfish Head, one of the nation’s 15 largest craft brewers as well as Iron Hill, which operates a dozen restaurants with microbreweries. Iron Hill has two locations in Delaware, with a third slated to open next year near Rehoboth Beach.

Iron Hill, which is headquartered in Wilmington will also expand beyond its Delaware Valley footprint with a location in South Carolina. The first Iron Hill opened in Newark in the 1990s. The name comes from a hill outside the city.

The industry will get a boost from the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act championed by Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) and Sen. Bob Portman (R-OH.

If passed, the bill – which was added as an amendment to the larger Senate Tax Reform Bill in November – would reduce the federal excise tax on the first 60,000 barrels of any domestic brewery that produces fewer than two million barrels a year and would lower the federal excise tax on barrelage up to six million barrels.

The association noted that beer tourism is growing, with the average craft drinker visiting 3.5 breweries near their homes and 2.5 breweries within two hours’ driving distance. Plus 64 percent surveyed said visiting a brewery/taproom was a new or different beer drinking occasion an indication brewery visits have created a new sales channel.

In response to the growth, the Delaware Tourism Office has created a Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail that covers the entire state.

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