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Craft Brewing in Pennsylvania

Written by Merideth Bucher, Producer | Sep 13, 2018 4:26 AM

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What to look for on Smart Talk Thursday, September 13, 2018:

Will Hurricane Florence have an impact on Pennsylvania this weekend?  Even if the storm doesn't affect the region, it still is one of the wettest summers on record.  On Thursday's Smart Talk, we'll speak with Eric Horst, Director of Millersville University's Weather Center about Florence and the rainy weather over the past few weeks. 

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This photo provided by NASA shows Hurricane Florence from the International Space Station on Sept. 10, 2018 / Photo by NASA via AP

Beer and Pennsylvania have a long and storied past. America's oldest brewery, Yuengling, is in Pottsville where they began brewing operations in 1829. Today, craft beer production in Pennsylvania, and the U.S., is growing rapidly. Pennsylvania appears at the top of most craft beer production lists, and currently ranks 6th in the nation with more than 300 licensed breweries.

According to a study by the Brewers Association, Pennsylvania ranks number one in the U.S for barrels of beer produced at nearly 4 million; producing more than half a million more gallons than California coming in at number two.

If you like beer, that's good news!

So, what defines a craft brewery? Typically, three characteristics. According to the Brewers Association, craft breweries are small; producing six million barrels of beer or less per year. They are independent; less than 25 percent of the brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage industry member (think big brewers). And their product is traditional; flavors come from traditional ingredients and fermentation methods.

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The craft brewing boom comes with a huge economic impact. Small brewers in the United States contributed more than $76 billion dollars to the economy last year. In Pennsylvania, the economic impact was nearly six billion dollars, putting the state second only to California. The impact is experienced not only by the brewers, but wholesalers, retailers, restaurants and taprooms.

The craft beer industry has many economic tendrils, weaving connections into other industries, as well. Two of the state's largest economic engines, agriculture and tourism, are supporting initiatives for the craft brewing industry. Agriculture experts are consulting with growers to improve hops productivity in Pennsylvania, and the Department of Tourism is helping communities market craft brewery's as a destination, creating "beer trails" linking breweries as wineries have done in other areas.  

Joining Smart Talk on Thursday to talk about the growth, challenges and impact of brewing in Pennsylvania are Erin Miskell and David Kozloski, co owner's of GearHouse Brewing Co. in Chambersburg, Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism and Film, and Tom Ford, Commercial Horticulture Educator with the Penn State Extension.

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David Kozloski, Erin Miskell and Carrie Fischer Lepore

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