Beer brewing business booming in Custer
CUSTER S.D. – A new study says South Dakota’s beer industry contributes over $300 million dollars to the economy and creates thousands of jobs.
In the Southern Hills, bartenders are opening the tap for new brews and for economic development. The study was conducted by the National Beer Wholesaler’s Association. It says brewing, distribution and retail bring in $314 million annually.
Since Governor Dennis Daugaard introduced legislation raising the cap on how much beer brewers can produce, brewers like Mt. Rushmore Brewing in Custer have experienced massive growth.
The bill raised the production cap to 30,000 barrels putting South Dakota on the map for brewing beer. Brewmasters at Mt. Rushmore Brewing say since the bill was passed, their growth has exploded.
“Our menus, our staff, all of that would have been very much decreased,” said Hanje Ehrlich, a brewmaster at Mt. Rushmore Brewing. “And I think we would have been a strictly seasonal taproom.”
The study also says the beer industry creates over 4,000 jobs statewide. At Mt. Rushmore Brewing, it’s creating brewer jobs as well as cooks, servers and support staff.
The economic impact of beer doesn’t stop there.
Additionally from employing builders who construct the breweries and bars, to the jabs created on South Dakota’s farms, the industry creates an additional $30 million in economic impact, which all makes a big splash on main street Custer.
“A lot of new bars open up in the hills in the summertime and so we’ve increased production almost 400 percent,” said Ehrlich.