Craft beer's popularity rising in north central Wisconsin - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Craft beer's popularity rising in north central Wisconsin

WAUSAU (WAOW) - One of Wisconsin's biggest industries is evolving.

Craft beers and specialty beers are as popular as they've ever been, and it appears they're here to stay.

"You pinch yourself because you can feel that you're in this roller coaster kind of a movement," said Michael Zamzow, co-owner of Bull Falls Brewery in Wausau.

Zamzow is on the cutting edge of a national trend. He says in 2009, craft beer made up 4.4 percent of the market, and in 2013, it grew to 7.8 percent.

Wisconsin has 70 businesses brewing craft beers.

"It's just something that's blowing up everywhere. Bull Falls here in town, Red Eye, The Great Dane. There's a lot of local taps. O'so Brewery, Point, Central Waters," said Tyler Vogt, co-owner of Malarkey's Pub in Wausau.

Vogt is taking notice.

"Our craft sales make up probably 85 percent of the beer we sell," he said.

Brewers know what's behind the rise in popularity.

"Craft beer offers a beer drinker a lot of pleasure because of the flavor," said Zamzow.

"The customer likes knowing where the beer came from," said Dan Weber, head brewer at The Great Dane. "You get to talk to the person who made it. You get to ask them questions."

Zamzow says craft beer also comes with health benefits. He says it has grain, fiber, vitamin B complex and antioxidants.

"If one were to be able to extract the alcohol, just by snapping a finger, you would have a Gatorade-like drink. It would be extremely healthy for you," he said.

With so much to offer beer enthusiasts, it looks like craft breweries aren't going anywhere.

The Great Dane hosts Stein Night every Tuesday.

Brewers there say that's a great time to learn more about brewing your own beer or tasting other people's creations.
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