Jan 3, 2023 - Business

Des Moines' brewery market is competing for Iowans' dollars

Illustration of a pattern of beer can tabs.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Des Moines metro recently suffered the loss of two local breweries, but that isn't a sign the local beer market is oversaturated, said Noreen Otto, executive director of the Iowa Brewers Guild.

Driving the news: Mistress Brewing Company in Ankeny and 1717 Brewing Co. in Des Moines have each shuttered since October.

  • And nationally, the craft brew industry is becoming a crowded field, raising questions if there's too much competition and if people really need 1,000 pale ale choices.

Zoom in: In Iowa, craft breweries have grown from 58 in 2014 to 116 in 2021, according to the Iowa Brewers Guild.

  • But even though that number doubled in a short period of time, there's still room for new breweries to open in central Iowa, Otto said.

The issue: Iowans drink a lot. But that doesn't mean local breweries are getting a cut out of our beer budgets.

  • People who are drinking craft beers in the state are more than likely drinking nationally-recognized brands like Sam Adams or Fat Tire, Otto said.
  • "Our goal is really to get Iowans to pivot away from some of those big brands and frankly, pivot away from Busch Light," Otto said.

Also: Though alcohol consumption increased in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, independent craft brewers around the U.S. suffered from reduced beer production and reduced retail value, according to the national Brewer's Association.

What they're saying: "Unfortunately, COVID-19 was something we never really recovered from," Mistress Brewing shared on Facebook.


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