Bars trade big brand beer taps for more craft selections - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Bars trade big brand beer taps for more craft selections

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -

Statistics from the Brewer's Association in 2016 showed that with 5,005 breweries in the United States, 99-percent are small operations run by independent craft brewers.

"In the last couple of years, we've seen some craft beers and some local beers demand a position on our tap line," said Mike Gazely, Partner at Bluffside Tavern.

Replacing big name beer brands with more local brews is a national trend not only happening at Bluffside Tavern but also at other bars in La Crosse.

"It's enjoyable to see our customers come in and say, 'Wow, I've never heard of them. I've never tried that,' and to be able to explain to them, 'This beer is known for this quality, this feature,'" said Jeff Ruihotson, Owner of Bodega Brew Pub.

Bodega Brew Pub prides itself in offering more than 400 beers from around the world. Of the 20 beers on tap, most are considered a craft beer.

"We have a lot of distributors that want to put a certain brewery on draft permanently, dedicate a line to one brewery," said Ruihotson. "Generally, we say no, because that would tie up all of our lines, and pretty soon, the smaller breweries or individual lines, smaller things, we wouldn't be able to offer anymore."

"For years and years, people have been supporting macrobreweries," said Paige Laconte with Toppling Goliath Brewing Company. "They got where they are because of the consumers."

The Decorah-based Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is one microbrewery experiencing growth because of a push to "drink local."

"A lot of people really want to support their local breweries which is why we're making such great strides in the La Crosse market," said Laconte.

"It's always nice to support local, and we always do as much of that as we can, because they're the ones that come here," Gazely said. "They're the ones that support us."

The shift in the beer industry translates into supporting friends and neighbors in the community as craft beers continue to rise in popularity.

"You're going to see craft breweries take off all over the world, and you're going to see craft beers being the most sought after beers in the market," said Laconte.

The trend toward craft beers has not eliminated the national brands. The big names like Budweiser and Miller Lite are still staples for many beer drinkers.

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