COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ninety years ago this weekend, the prohibition on beer was lifted in Ohio, but it’s been in the last decade that breweries have really boomed across the state.
Mary MacDonald with the Ohio Craft Brewers Association said that 10 years ago, the number of craft breweries in the state was around 50, and in Columbus, there were only a dozen. Now there are 55 in Columbus and 423 across the state.
MacDonald said that in 2018, it was nearly a $1 billion industry. The COVID-19 pandemic brought that to a halt, but she said they are bouncing back, with 70 breweries in the works, a few more in Columbus. The key, she said, is that local beer impacts the local economy.
“I think at some point, we’ll hit 500 breweries, and I think it’s just passionate people who are creative, love to brew beer, and love to share with their communities, and they’ve become real community center,” she said. “They’re worried about a billion dollars. That’s not going overseas. That’s being spent in our communities by our employees.”
Ninety years ago, beer wasn’t allowed to surpass 4% alcohol by volume. Today, you can walk into any brewery and find a brew for just about everyone.
The Ohio Craft Brewery Association is holding its annual tasting event, 6-1-Pour, on June 3 at the Ohio History Center.