“May your tap rooms be full, your wine tastings be top and your cash registers overflow!”
What industry pours agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and culture into a mug? If you guessed the craft brewing industry, you are right!
Many of Nebraska’s breweries use locally sourced hops to produce and distribute quality beverages and products. Their ingenuity is bringing outsiders into communities of all sizes and providing a local gathering place for everyone: friends, families and fortune seekers.
“Breweries are brewing new life into under-invested communities by bringing new money and new people to rural Nebraska,” said Caleb Pollard, one of the owners of Scratchtown Brewing in Ord. “We’ve seen people from around the world now in our taproom, and have earned national recognition for brewing award winning beers. That energy and excitement is has helped to change attitudes about what is possible in small towns. And it certainly has made the community an easier sell for businesses and people looking to relocate to a quality small town such as Ord. Every community visit often starts and ends in our taproom, and we’re grateful to be ambassadors for our area.”
From Atkinson to Pawnee City and Ord to Holdrege, you will find craft breweries thriving across Nebraska and throughout NPPD’s service territory.
According to the Brewers Association, Nebraska was home to 42 craft breweries in 2016, employing 2,717 full-time equivalent employees with a total economic impact of $465 million. Today, the number is closer to 50. Even more rewarding is nearly 20 are found in the Cornhusker State’s rural, non-metropolitan communities.
“Studies have shown that young people are choosing quality of life first, as compared to employment location. In order to attract these young families to our towns we must be able to offer what they find interesting, meet their desires”, said Lou Ann Tooker, Economic Development Director, city of Atkinson. “While being a local meeting place, Brush Creek Brewery has also become a tourist destination which leads people to other local attractions thereby helping to stimulate the local economy.”
What if you like grapes in your glass? Or Scotch in your water?
Craft breweries are not the only beverage commerce booming across Nebraska. Small distilleries are also starting to appear in various communities, like the Broken Jug Distillery in Elm Creek, Neb. In addition, a maturing wine industry – with more than 25 wineries making delicious whites and reds with Nebraska-grown grapes – is drawing wine connoisseurs from across the U.S.
And who else can raise their glass?
“These beverage businesses are not only providing jobs in the production and service sectors, they are impacting our ag economy as well,” said Rick Nelsen, NPPD Senior Economic Development Consultant. “Nebraska’s farmers can diversify their incomes by growing hops, barley and grapes. In turn, this reinforces their bottom lines, bolsters brethren industries, and ultimately strengthens the economies of their local communities.”