Is the craft brewery scene over-saturated in Eau Claire? - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Is the craft brewery scene over-saturated in Eau Claire?


Eau Claire (WQOW) -- If you're a fan of beer, you may have noticed a trend of new craft breweries in our area. It begs the question, is the market too saturated? 

Theresa Frank, owner of Lazy Monk Brewing, says she was drawn to downtown Eau Claire.

"It's a beautiful city," said Frank. "And my husband and I wanted to be downtown as the revitalization was going on."

Lazy Monk is in their eighth year of brewing, and several others have joined the craft brew scene since. It's a move that Frank welcomes.

"We are delighted when we see another craft brewery come in because each craft brewery is unique," said Frank. "That's what sets us apart from the big brewers."

Frank also says instead of competing with other local breweries, they're cooperating.

"We're all kind of trying different things, they call it like a 'co-brew', and yes that's happening," said Frank. "But each of us are so unique, we don't need to necessarily do that."

A new face to the local scene is The Growler Guys on London Road. Owner Chris Clover said they may not brew anything, but they do work with local breweries.

"We have a bunch of the local breweries on, we've had a few of their kegs," said Clover. "A lot of regional things, but that's kind of the cool thing about our place is we don't just have dedicated tap handles.

Clover also said, there is always a possibility for an over-saturated market.

"Right now, just from what I've seen across the country there's a lot of room for growth in the craft beer industry in Wisconsin, and Eau Claire in particular," said Clover. "I think it's a long ways off from being a saturated market."

When asked about what separated The Growler Guys from a bar. Clover said it's all about the experience.

"When you come in here, you can kind of tell us what style of beer you actually want or like, or if you see one that you like, then we start sampling you," said Clover. "We give you a little quarter ounce, half ounce shots of beer, you can taste it, then before you actually make that purchase, you'll get to taste the beer."

Frank said Lazy Monk is all about the atmosphere, "We're a family environment, and people really under stand that. It is not uncommon to see an entire family in here from infants all the way up to great grand parents. They come in, they feel comfortable."

Frank said if you're looking to get into the brewery business, go into it with your eyes wide open.

"You have to be aware of your audience, and what they like," said Frank.

Other craft breweries in the Eau Claire Co. area are:

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