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Wisconsin beer sales fall, wine sales increase

Local breweries: craft beer sales still high

Wisconsin beer sales fall, wine sales increase

La Crosse, Wis. (WKBT) - When you think Wisconsin, chances are you also think beer - but it's not necessarily the drink of choice for every Wisconsinite these days.

According to a report by 24/7 Wall St., beer consumption in Wisconsin fell by 8 percent between 2001 and 2012. There appears to be another beverage that's getting a lot more love here - wine. The same report found the state's per capita wine consumption increased by 31 percent during that same time period - a bigger jump than most other states.

Tori Harmer, the assistant manager at Java Vino, says she's seen that increase in La Crosse and thinks perhaps a shift in how people drink wine has had an impact.

"I feel like it's just part of the culture of what people are becoming accustomed to."

That culture is food - Harmer says more often than not, people looking for wine are looking for a bite to eat, as well.

"When you add an element of food in there, it's going to change your mouth so that's really part of the experience."

Food isn't just helping wine sales jump, though - local breweries say they're not seeing a sales decrease, but a sales increase thanks to the local food movement.

""I think you're seeing a trend towards more people interested in locally made foods, locally made products," says Joe Katchever, owner of La Crosse's Pearl Street Brewery."I think on a national scale, craft beer is on the forefront of the whole local trending that we're seeing."

Katchever may be on to something. According to the National Brewers Association, craft beer sales are actually up more than 17 percent.

"The beer decline overall represents a shift in tastes from mass-produced beer to a more local product," Katchever says.

Despite the decline, Wisconsin is still 6th in the nation in terms of beer sales - so we're not doing too bad.

North Dakota currently holds the top spot for beer consumption, according to that 24-7 Wall Street report.

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