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Anyone who has grown up on Delmarva, the Eastern Shore of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia,  has seen firsthand how a brewery can change a place. Most Americans have seen this too since 80% of Americans over the age of 21 live within 10 miles of a brewery.  This week on Beer Notes, we are going to examine the effect of a brewery on a small town.

Long before Berlin Maryland became “America’s Coolest Small Town.” it was a charming, but relatively sleepy little town, full of tiny, quaint and eclectic shops. When Burley Oak Brewing Company came to town, things changed. Bringing in a brewer to Berlin breathed new life into the area. Salisbury Maryland was similarly quiet until Evolution Craft Brewing Company (Evo) took up residence in what was once an icehouse in the downtown area. It immediately became a mecca for craft beer lovers. Suddenly there was a place where you could hang out with friends to enjoy world class and locally produced craft beer.


Like Burley Oak, Evo is now on tap in restaurants and bars across Delmarva and in surrounding states. Their labels proudly feature the name of the town where the beer was made. Having a brewery puts a town on the map and this can help rural areas who may be struggling financially: the building of a brewery can help revive them.


The creation of breweries means the creation of new jobs for brewers, graphic artists, bottlers, bartenders, delivery people and waitstaff; it also benefits farmers growing the hops and fruits, vegetables, botanicals and more that are used in experimental beers. The message is simple: make local beer and the community will grow and thrive.


Small towns have an advantage when it comes to freshness and that coveted “farm-to-table,” or in this case “farm-to-glass,” mentality. Everything can be sourced locally and produced in-house. The more local, the more attractive it is to potential customers.


There is a constant influx of things to do in brewery towns, new businesses to try and new faces to meet as they come to taste local beer firsthand. As the internet will tell you, “if you brew it, they will come.”


For beer notes, this is Anne Neely.

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