Written by Victoria Pelham for cronkitenewsonline.com
PHOENIX – George Hancock sees great promise in this downtown warehouse filled with barrels containing fermenting barley and wheat and producing craft beer 600 gallons at a time.
He views the opportunity for microbrewers as so ripe here that he decided to pack up and leave a similar operation he had in Washington for Arizona, co-founding Phoenix Ale Brewery in June. He said the Seattle market is over-saturated but that Arizona still needs more breweries.
“It’s just getting started here, but the market for craft beer is growing rapidly,” Hancock said.
There were 39 microbreweries in Arizona in the 2011 fiscal year, which ended in June, according to the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control. That was up from 36 in fiscal 2010 and 31 in fiscal 2009.
Those operations are licensed to produce up to 1,240,000 gallons in a calendar year and are able to sell their products directly to consumers.
The largest concentration of breweries was in Maricopa County, with 20, according to data from the state.
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