Craft beerChicago has a long history with beer. The first brewery opened in Chicago in the same year or shortly after the city was incorporated. Today, Chicago is home to more than 150 breweries. Increasingly, breweries from around the nation are distributing their product within Chicago.

The latest to join the craft brew scene in Chicago is Blue Point Brewing, based in Patchogue, New York. Blue Point beers are now available in bars and retailers and will soon be available at the United Center and Wrigley Field. Other recent arrivals include Toppling Goliath from Decorah, Iowa, Odell Brewing from Fort Collins, Colorado and Short’s Brewing from Bellaire, Michigan.

Out-of-town breweries, such as California-based Lagunitas and Milwaukee-based Like Minds Brewing have opened breweries and taprooms of their own in Chicago, making the Second City a second home.

The chief economist of the Brewers Association told Crain’s Chicago Business that due to the large size of Chicago’s beer market, newcomers do not need to seize an extensive share of the market in order to be successful. Craft beer drinkers tend to switch brands more frequently than previous generations, making variety an important component among retailers. Overall, craft beer comprises 13 percent of the U.S. market.

Craft beer buyers tend to favor local products in their purchasing decisions, so in order for an out-of-town beer to be successful, it must be distinct. With local favorites in Chicago such as Half Acre Beer Company and Revolution Brewing, and new breweries like On Tour Brewing Company opening frequently, out-of-town beers have extensive competition.

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