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Ohio Craft Brewers Conference Highlights Industry's Economic Impact

Small brewers are now big business in Ohio.
Jason Reynolds
Small brewers are now big business in Ohio.

In 2012, there were fewer than 50 craft breweries in Ohio. Today, there are more than 300.

This week, brewery owners and employees from across the state are gathering here in Dayton for the Sixth Annual Ohio Craft Brewers Conference.

The conference offers seminars on things like how to handle yeast, how to do taxes, and how to market a new ale.

Spokesperson Justin Hemminger is quick to note that most Ohio breweries are less than five years old.

“There’s so much to learn about this industry, and with businesses that are this young, a thing like this is absolutely essential to helping them grow and thrive,” he says.

There’s now roughly one and a half million barrels of craft beer produced in Ohio every year. That translates into an estimated economic impact of over $900 million.

On the conference trade floor, vendors sell everything from barley and hops to kegs and cans. Brewers can order merchandise, buy marketing plans, or even pick up a pickup truck

Jonathan Maas came to Dayton from Akron, where he sells commercial vans and trucks. He says he likes catering to craft brewers.

“It’s got to be one of the fastest growing industries in the state,” Maas says. In the last 90 days, he’s sold five delivery vehicles to craft breweries.

That puts his dealership on pace to sell nearly half a million dollars worth of vehicles to breweries this year.

If or when the craft beer market will reach a saturation point is unclear, but one thing is certain.

Some small breweries are doing big business in Ohio.