WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The craft beer industry continues to grow as locals celebrate DC Beer Week at breweries across the District.
According to the Craft Brewers' Association, there have been 170 new craft breweries that have popped up in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. between 2011 and 2016. During that time, there have been many changes in the industry too.
One discussion that has been had among many craft brewers revolves around the topic of independence. As more small craft breweries pop up across the country, bigger breweries have shown more interest in buying them. Atlas Brew Works held a special discussion on the matter Wednesday night.
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"There's a debate right now in the world of beer about whether it matters to be small and craft and independent or whether consumers don't really care about that kind of thing," said Kathy Rizzo, executive director of the District of Columbia Brewers' Guild.
A lot of people have also discussed the issue of their possibly being too many competitors in the industry. However, Atlas Brew Works CEO Justin Cox said it is something every industry deals with. He told WUSA9 he is not worried about that issue.
"No one asks if there are too many pizza shops or too many coffee shops around," Cox said. "I think that there is still plenty of room."
Finally, smaller breweries appear to be thriving as some bigger craft breweries struggle with falling sales in newer markets.
"A lot of our small brewers are really community players," Rizzo said.
Either way, a lot of people see more growth ahead for the craft beer industry. The Frederick County (MD) Office of Economic Development has even created a guide on "How to Start a Winery, Brewery, Distillery" for interested brewers in that community.
DC Beer Week runs through Sunday. You can learn more by clicking here.
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