Eighty Years After Prohibition, Homebrewing Takes Off

Posted at: 12/05/2013 10:59 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Thursday marked the 80th anniversary of the end of Prohibition, which outlawed the sale of alcohol in the United States.

Today U.S. alcohol sales are approaching $200 billion a year, and more and more those spirits are being brewed inside people's homes.

“When I started there wasn't a lot of good beer out there,” said Brian Davis, an avid homebrewer. “And I've always been a fan of good beer."

Davis started brewing about 15 years ago after his mother bought him a homebrewing kit for Christmas.

Davis now operates Gravity Storm Brewery out of his garage in Lyle, but as he gives away most of what he brews, he says he really just likes to experiment.

“There's almost an unlimited amount of creativity that goes with it,” Davis said. “People don't realize there are 80 some different styles of beer."

And Davis isn't alone in his quest for the perfect beer.

With over a million homebrewers in the U.S. already, the hobby is quickly gaining traction.

“It’s growing at a pretty good pace,” said Kevin Blake, co-owner of Collective Spirits, a homebrewing supply store in Albert Lea. “A large number of people that start it stick with it."

Blake said the relatively low cost and high-quality product has made the practice increasingly popular.

“A hundred and twenty-five bucks can get you started in beer or wine, and that'll come with an ingredient kit and get you two cases of beer or 30 bottles of wine,” Blake said.

But for brewers like Davis, it's not about the cost, but about the experience.

“It’s a fun hobby,” Davis said. “I don't see me stopping anytime in the future because I enjoy it way too much."

If you're interested in learning more about homebrewing in our area, you can contact the Iowa/Minnesota Society of Brewers through their website.