HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The craft brewing industry continues to grow not only across the nation, but in the state of Mississippi as well.
The Brewers Association says while overall beer volume sales were down in 2017, craft sales grew at a rate of 5 percent by volume.
Craft beer sales makes up more than 23 percent of the $111.4 billion beer market in the U.S.
Mississippi currently ranks last when it comes to breweries per capita at only 0.6 percent, but local breweries said the business continues to grow.
“We often say if you can make it in Mississippi, you can make it anywhere,” said head brewer Benjamin Green with Southern Prohibition Brewing in Hattiesburg.
Green said more people are trying craft beers for the taste as well as the experience.
“Craft beer tends to be beer that’s made small, local, independent breweries that are very concerned with flavor, ingredients, quality of beer and innovation," said Green.
In 2017, craft brewers contributed $76.2 billion to the U.S. economy. In Mississippi, the industry contributed more than $312 million to the economy.
Marcus Cooper, owner of Colludium Brewing in Hattiesburg, said the business doesn’t stop with the breweries.
“In a couple of years, I think we’re going to see a lot of small places do the same kind of business model that we’re doing on a really small scale,” said Cooper. “[They are] going to start popping up everywhere, which is great for all of us.”
No matter how big or small the process, breweries across the Pine Belt say craft beers are here to stay.
“The community has definitely embraced craft beer and it seems to be growing,” said Green.
Statewide, there are 17 breweries with three in the Pine Belt. However, more bars and businesses are jumping on board and starting to brew their own craft beers.