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Illinois residents are toasting the success of the craft brewery trend, which is thriving thanks to community support. Illinois has 181 craft breweries, the 11th most in the country according to the recently released 2016 numbers from the Brewers Association and a considerable increase from 54 in 2011. Giotto Troia of DESTIHL Brewery, a craft brewery based in Normal, shared what makes the rise of these hometown breweries special for the state.
“The people who are owning these breweries that are popping up are from the community that is ultimately supporting them, so they're your neighbors,” Troia said.
DESTIHL and many other local breweries depend on community support for their success and say they are happy to reinvest in the community. Small and independent craft brewers added $2.27 billion to the state’s economy in 2014. “We're very proud to be part of the community,” Troia said. “It really does hit home -- everything from the local economy growing to the taxes that go back into the local economy.”
While Troia doesn’t believe the state has hit the saturation point for local breweries, some breweries are finding ways to distinguish themselves by also offering a taproom, beer hall or restaurant to sell beer directly to the consumer. “I think a lot of breweries around the country have really latched onto that idea of giving them an experience,” Troia said. “That's why local communities around the country are sort of hopping on the brewery bandwagon because it's something different it's something unique.”
Even with local breweries and taprooms popping up seemingly every month, nationally craft beer production held just 12.3 percent of the market share in 2016. “There's a lot of room for growth for the craft breweries to take a piece of the pie away from the big guys,” Troia said. Craft breweries are working on taking more of the share, increasing beer production by 6 percent nationally in 2016.Troia said that as long as hometown breweries like DESTIHL focus on the customer by providing high-quality beer and a unique experience, craft breweries will have a place in the community.