Dining
4:22 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Craft Brews Get Their Due at Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival

An attendee at last year's Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival samples a craft brew from a local brewery.
Credit Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival

Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci interviews Sprecher Brewery president Jeff Hamilton about the Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival.

Milwaukee has long been known as Brew Town, and though many big beer brands have left in the last several decades, the city still represents when it comes to craft beer.

In fact, there are a number of well-regarded craft breweries throughout Wisconsin, but the state has been facing a lot of competition from other states building up their craft beer scenes.

This Saturday's Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival hopes to build some homegrown support and awareness of the Badger State's craft beer credentials.

Co-hosted by the Wisconsin Brewers Guild, the fifth annual event and tasting will feature more than 150 craft beers from some 40 breweries across the state, and visitors will get to talk to brewers, brewery owners and even chefs who cook with the craft brews.

Among those in attendance will be Jeff Hamilton, president of Sprecher Brewery in Glendale, who serves on the guild's board.

He says it is easier to do business today as a craft brewery than it has been in the past, with more resources available for new breweries. As a result craft beer has proliferated in the state - and demand has followed.

The Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival is Saturday, June 14th.
Credit Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival

"People are very much more interested in things that are produced locally, things they can see when they go out in their neighborhoods, things they walk by every day, things they drive by every day," Hamilton says.

But he says Wisconsin still has some catching up to do when it comes to making the state as well known for craft brews as beer in general. Other states like Colorado Oregon, California, Maine, and Washington have more craft breweries than Wisconsin; craft beer also has a bigger market share than in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Beer Lovers Festival hopes to create a stronger awareness of local craft beer, which Hamilton says could lead to making the state more friendly to craft breweries' businesses.

The Festival is this Saturday from 1 to 5 at Bayshore Town Center.