The business of microbrewing is picking up across the state.
Craft brewers say Wisconsin customers are catching on and choosing their local beers over more mass-produced brands.
They say the more people brewing on a smaller scale, the better.
That idea is paving the way for more breweries to start up. For instance, former Capital Brewery boss Carl Nolen recently submitted a proposal to build his own brewery in Verona.
Verona city administrator Bill Burns responded, "We have the transportation, we have the roads, we have the utilities, we have all of that in place, so it's something that we can accommodate."
The plan is to build a 23,000 square foot facility in the Verona Technology Park, with the option to expand to 100,000 square feet in the future. The city is already excited about the prospect, hoping it could bring more jobs and tourism to the area.
"We're excited about the idea of having thousands of bottles of beer with 'Made In Verona, Wisconsin' written on them," Burns explained.
A more detailed review of the plan is set for October. There is also consideration for tax increment financing (TIF) assistance. Burns said the development could break down by the end of the year.
Members of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild say there are now nearly 70 breweries in the state, and plans for another five to ten breweries are in the works.
In Madison, Page Buchanan just opened the doors to the "House of Brews" tasting room. He often paces back and forth on his brewery floor, testing vats of beer and shoveling grain from place to place.
Buchanan only produces about 1,000 barrels, making him a fraction of the size of other craft brewers around the area.
"I'm definitely Madison's smallest microbrewery," Buchanan said. "That's for sure."
Regardless of size, Buchanan has adopted a unique concept: the "community-shared brewery." The idea reflects that of a co-op, where customers can pay for beer ahead of time and also have more of a say in what he makes.
Buchanan said beer lovers are shifting their preferences when it comes to beer and like the option of having more choices for flavor.
"More people are becoming aware of it, and choosing that," Buchanan said.
A bigger and older brewery, Ale Asylum held the grand opening for its new tasting room location this past weekend.
As crowds of people filled up pints in the new building, co-owner Otto Dilba said he is increasingly convinced that more drinkers are opting out of corporate-labeled beers.
"We've all drank bad beer for long enough," Dilba said.
Dilba said the brewery has plans to expand business to the entire state this fall so the beers are not just available in Madison and Milwaukee. The move will give them the space to grow, he said, and he plans to fill that space with more production and more staff.
"The big reason to do this is so that we can increase our distribution statewide and beyond in the future," Dilba noted.
The company sold its old space and equipment to another brewery trying to start up. Dilba said he doesn’t see an increase in the industry as negative competition.
"More and more people will pop up with better and better beer," Dilba explained, "and I don't think it's possible to oversaturate the market."