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Craft beer industry gaining popularity

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Albany/HV: Craft beer industry gaining popularity
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The Finger Lakes region is often known for its wine, but its microbreweries are gaining popularity. In fact, the craft beer industry has been skyrocketing across the country in recent years. YNN's Crystal Cranmore takes a look at what's on tap in the Southern Tier.

HORSEHEADS, N.Y. -- Whether you're into fruity beers or ones with a bitter bite, the selections of craft beer at bars across the country run the gamut.

“Domestic beers are really basic. They’ll use corn and rice and they don’t have a lot of flavor. Craft beers are a lot more richer, there’s a lot more variance to the flavors,” said Andrew Knott, a bartender at Holmes Plate 54 in Corning.

That’s one reason why experts say more people are choosing micro-brews.

“The big type of beer that is under the microscope right now is an IPA, that’s an India Pale Ale. People are starting to adopt that flavor,” said Knott.

“For craft beers, I prefer an IPA or a light type, not a real dark craft beer,” said Clyn Walter, a patron.

Craft breweries are small and independent and often use traditional ingredients like malt barley.

According to the Brewers Association, craft beer sales grew 15 percent last year. The number of craft breweries has also increased in recent years from about 1,900 in 2011 to about 2,300 in March of this year.

Craft beer made up about seven percent of the nation’s total beer sales last year. Nevertheless, the industry continues to have an impact.

Horseheads Brewing Company is a member of the Finger Lakes Beer Trail. The owner says his business grows each year, producing 812 barrels of beer in 2012.

“Once you start drinking this type of beer, it's really hard to go back to domestic beer,” said owner Ed Samchisen.

“If you've ever had a Chimay from Belgian, drinking that is like drinking Dom Perignon,” said Neil Kafko, a patron.

Growlers also contribute to the popularity of craft beers. They sometimes help small breweries get their names out to the public.

“It’s a lot cheaper to fill growlers, it’s more cost effective,” said Samchisen.

“Customers are definitely noticing that there’s more craft beer out there. It’s getting more media presence and people are getting a little bit more experimental.

Something microbreweries can cheers to.

If you are interested in visiting any of the establishments on the Finger Lakes Beer Trail, visit fingerlakesbeertrail.com.

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