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Coralville- It's an industry that's brewing up new businesses across Iowa. In 2011, 33 new craft breweries opened up in the state, giving Iowans more options, flavors, and places to drink. Backpocket Brewing officially opened in the Coralville River Landing on Friday. The Owner said the demand for a cold one has never been greater, especially craft beers. That's the market he is hoping to tap into.
"There is so much room for growth in that big beer market that everybody can do well for the foreseeable future," said Jake Simmons, the Brewmaster at Backpocket. The brewery is an expansion of Old Man River Brewery and Pub in Mcgregor, Iowa. Things are already looking bright, or rather refreshing, for their new addition. "When we were doing the brewpub thing, we decided to send out kegs as well and see how the market responded, see if people liked our beer and they did and we decided to go ahead and expand," said Simmons.
The taste for craft beer is growing. According to the Brewers Association, the industry saw a 15 percent increase in sales in 2011. It sold one million more barrels than the year before, and volume share continues to gain at a time when large brewer volumes are in decline. "I don't think you can talk to an Iowa brewery at this point that doesn't have capacity issues," said Simmons.
The recent growth in Iowa could be the result of a change in state law last year that allows Iowa beer makers to brew with higher alcohol content. Simmons said since the law changed nearly 2 dozen breweries have opened up in the state. However, he isn't concerned about the growing competition. Simmons said microbreweries still only make up about 5 percent of the total beer market. "As long as people are doing their homework and doing things the right way and well, there will always be a demand for that," said Bob Wagner, the Tap Room manager at Backpocket.
Backpocket is ready to pour you a beer nobody else has to offer, because they've invested in a drink they are confident will never lose its popularity. "American's love beer," said Wagner. A lot of people are excited about the new brewery. It opened its doors to more than 200 people over the days leading up to its public opening. People R-S-V-P'd on the breweries Facebook page within minutes.