Like our medieval forebears who conceived the Guild concept, many of Iowa’s brewers understand that there’s strength in numbers. A fairly loose organization meeting in bars and around picnic tables until 2007, the Iowa Brewers Guild organized its efforts to showcase and improve the quality of Iowa beer, promote communication among the state’s brewers, advocate for the promotion of the local brewing community, and lobby for progressive changes in Iowa laws to benefit the state’s craft brewing industry.
At a competitive disadvantage due to laws limiting the alcohol content in the beers they produced (while out-of-state breweries were free to distribute beer in Iowa that was above that 6% ABW threshold), the grassroots effort comprised of Iowa’s brewers and beer enthusiasts placed its first feather in the Guild’s cap in March of 2010, when Gov. Chet Culver signed S.F. 2088 into law. The law lifted the limit to 12% ABW (15.2% ABV) and restructured elements of distribution to benefit Iowa’s own breweries.
Since the law’s passage, the number of breweries in Iowa has nearly tripled, with a number of brewery owners noting that they wouldn’t have taken the leap into commercial brewing in Iowa without the new law.
Today, the number of breweries in the state, as well as other elements of a healthy craft beer culture—festivals, beer dinners, and tastings—continues to grow. Iowa brewers have received national and international awards as well as press coverage for the quality of their beers, and the Iowa Brewers Guild is pleased to be an ongoing part of that growth and development with educational and social opportunities for brewers and beer lovers alike.
While national headlines continue to tell the story of the United States’ slow-moving economic recovery, the craft beer industry continues to grow, logging double-digit increases year after year, including a 25% increase in 2013 and 17.6% increase in 2014, according to the Brewers Association.
Iowa’s beer trends are no exception. Iowa currently boasts nearly 60 breweries with another two dozen in the planning stages. A recent Iowa Craft Beer Economic Impact Study, funded by the Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board, revealed that the Iowa craft brewing industry supports 1,500 jobs, has a $100 million impact on the economy, and produced nearly 41,000 barrels of beer in 2014. The industry is projected to triple in five years, producing more than 146,000 barrels annually by 2019.
Brewing award-winning beers, creating Internet buzz and having fun are just a part of what Iowa’s craft beer industry does. We also contribute to historic preservation, spur the Iowa travel industry, and create jobs. We work hard to give our friends, family and fans a full-flavored impact. Join us as we work to promote and protect the Iowa craft beer industry.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board President: Dave Ropte, 515 Brewing Company
Board Vice President: Ken Broadhead, Confuence Brewing Company
Board Treasurer: Teresa Albert, Millstream Brewing Company
Board Secretary: Nic Sabatke, Kalona Brewing Company
Board Member: Quinton McClain, Lion Bridge Brewing Company
Board Member: Jon Crook, Boone Valley Brewing Company
Minister of Iowa Beer: J. Wilson, Iowa Brewers Guild