Beer culture booming in central Ohio

Liz and Donald Staas, the owners of Staas Brewing. at 31 W. Winter St. Photo by Conor Golden

Craft beer is booming here in central Ohio.

The general characteristics of a craft brewery include being: small, independent, innovative, and distinctive. These criteria fit many local breweries including the only one in Delaware: Staas Brewing Company.

Located at 31 W. Winter St. across from the Andrews House, Staas Brewing Company fits all these criteria as defined by the association. Locally owned and operated by Liz and Donald Staas, their business is known for producing quality craft beers whether they are IPA’s, ales, or classic styles.

“We wanted a small atmosphere because it keeps the focus on the beer,” Liz Staas noted, “99 percent of the time, Donald or myself serve the beer and people like having that conversation and knowing the person serving you is also the one who made the product. It makes for a totally different experience.”

Staas is different from Barley Hopster’s in that the latter business is a craft beer retail store. What this means is that whereas Staas makes and sells their own product, Barley Hopster’s is an aggregator of hundreds of varieties of craft beers. Both represent the continuously growing trend of craft beer culture in the greater Columbus area.

Despite overall beer sales dropping, craft beer actually experienced an increase of 17.6 percent in 2013 nationally according to the national lobbying group: the Brewer’s Association. Sources have told the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Alive, and Columbus Underground that the industry is booming and, not only booming, but doing well. It seems that the more than 70 craft breweries in this state are struggling to keep up with the demand.

The Brewers Association also counted Ohio as having around 1.1 million barrels of craft beer produced every year, making the state fourth in the nation for craft barrels produced annually. The economic impact is also staggering: almost 1.3 million dollars in 2012 according to the Brewers Association.

The goals now seem to be to expand and to brew more. Eric Bean, owner of Columbus Brewing Company—the largest craft brewing company in Columbus—said in an interview with Columbus Alive that he cannot supply the city with enough beer.

“In earlier decades, there was a certain level of ‘fad’ with craft brewing,” Bean stated in his interview, “But now it’s a lifestyle brand.”

In an interview with the Dispatch, Bean also said how a few years ago there was a push for controlling the “tap handle,” but now beer seems to be literally “falling off the trucks.”

Despite no plans to expand anytime soon, Staas also noted the rapidity of the industry’s growth. “The beer culture is booming, but we started this whole process over two years ago and two years ago, things in Columbus weren’t really like they were now,” she said, “A lot of breweries and a lot of new bars have opened up in the past two years. We cannot believe how different Columbus is from how it was two years ago and for the better. It’s awesome.”

For more information on Delaware’s local microbrewery, visit staasbrewing.com and for more statistics on craft brewing go to http://www.brewersassociation.org/

Photo: Owners Liz and Donald Staas pose inside behind their bar at Staas Brewing Company


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