LA CROSSE, Wis. -- The popularity of microbreweries is continuing to grow in Wisconsin, and that's no different in La Crosse with the Pearl Street Brewery.
There are a few different ingredients that go into the success of microbreweries, and for the Pearl Street Brewery, it’s all about creating something interesting.
“One of the great things about craft beer is that there's really no limits to the creativity of the brewer,” said Joe Katchever, Pearl Street Brewery brewmaster.
At the Pearl Street brewery in La Crosse, brewing beer is like creating works of art, and Katchever wouldn't have it any other way.
“Craft beer sells itself,” said Katchever. “It tastes great and people drink it. [They] try it and maybe they don't like the first one, [they] try a few more and eventually they find one that they like, and then you've got a new customer.”
He said the craftsmanship that goes into his beers at the brewery is what has kept his business growing.
“We're looking at a double-digit growth this year just like we had last year and we anticipate that for next year too,” said Katchever.
The Pearl Street Brewery isn't the only one seeing growth.
“For microbreweries, it's a great time to be a brewer in Wisconsin,” said Deb Carey of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild.
Carey said microbreweries statewide are all seeing popularity in craft beers go up.
“We are all up double-digits if not more,” said Carey. “Sales are going up and I think what that can be accounted to is that people have become aware of all the quality of fruits and beverages they enjoy, and also more aware of the impact that sponsoring or supporting local food vendors has on the economy.”
While some may think it's tough as a microbrewery to compete with the bigger national labels, Carey doesn't think so.
“What has happened as brewers have become larger and gone national, they have kind of made their products more and more ambiguous, kind of beige, nothing very interesting, and so there's this huge vacuum of flavor that brewers can neatly step into,” said Carey.
“Yeah, that's the fun part of my job,” said Katchever. “I get to try new beers, new beer styles, new ingredients. Put them together and see what we come up with, and see if it's something that people like.”
The Pearl Street Brewery started in 1999. However, it didn't bottle its first beer until 2006.
The brewery just released its sixth bottled beer Friday, the Rubber Mills Pils.
The brewery currently calls the Rubber Mills building home. The beer is a tribute to the building's long standing history here in La Crosse as well as the generations of people in our community who have worked in the building.
Wisconsin already has 65 established microbreweries in the state. Officials tell us about half a dozen more are planning on opening in coming years as well.