Beer industry hopping in Reno

Craft beer fans, start your engines.

Reno Craft Beer Week is underway through April 25 and a variety of beer-related festivities are on tap.

With over 40 events planned, thousands should frequent the town’s 15 craft breweries that call Reno home.

Since it is an inaugural event, Don Vetter, a co-producer of the event with the Nevada Craft Brewers Association, wasn’t ready to venture a dollar amount in terms of business generated, but the participating brewers should see a nice uptick in sales of beers and bites.

“We expect to grow (this event) in the years to come,” said Vetter. In the meantime, participating businesses are “committed to introducing as many people as we can to a better beer.”

Patrons will meet the brewers themselves, learn about what it takes to develop these kinds of products, and achieve a greater sense of this market segment that has taken hold of beer drinkers everywhere, said Vetter.

Nationwide, craft beer’s market share of total beer sales has been substantial in the past two years, growing from 7.8 percent in 2013 to 11 percent in 2014, according to the Brewers Association.

Northern Nevada is mirroring the nationwide trend as 15 craft breweries call the region home and store sales of craft beer in Reno approach 20 percent, according to the Association. Statewide, there are 35 businesses in operation.

The business model is one of three styles: a brewpub with restaurant sales; a tap house and bottle-type of business; and manufacturing only.

“A decade ago it was Tom Young up north with Great Basin and Big Dogs down in Vegas,” said Vetter. “It was just a two-man game,” he said of the industry.

“We just met with UNR to figure out a value-chain analysis” for the industry in northern Nevada, said Vetter, referring to a future initiative to track the economic multiplier.

Other Reno-area businesses are also getting on the beer bandwagon. “Raley’s is on board during the week with tastings, as well as the tap room at Whole Foods Market.”

Local beer production also is an outgrowth focusing on fresh, local ingredients, with brewers sourcing hops, barley, adjuncts and additives from regional suppliers and growers.

Or, as Vetter calls it, “part of the farm-to-tap movement.”


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