Louisiana’s craft beer industry is growing rapidly.

That’s according to Executive Director of the Louisiana Craft Brewers Guild, Cary Koch, who says we’re on track for more growth if the state fosters a good business environment. He says 6 new breweries opened last year, and even more are in the planning stage.

“There’s over 30 breweries in planning looking to put their roots down in Louisiana, and time will tell if this is the right environment or not, if they’re going to stay here or they’re going to move out of state,” Koch said.

Koch says lawmakers have already targeted the industry. A proposal in this year’s legislative session would have ended trademarked university beers, like the ones at UL-Lafayette and LSU. He says they didn’t like some of the comments made during testimony on the bill.

“We disagree with some of the comments that were made that said the craft breweries are here to promote underage drinking, which we absolutely do not condone in anyway,” Koch said.

Koch says this bill also would have caused two local breweries to lose out on sales. He hopes the state will create more incentive programs for craft breweries, which have huge economic impacts on their communities. He says one specific change they’d like is the option for self-distribution.

“To say that a brewery that brews less than 500 barrels a year needs to have a distributor to push a product in its own region seems more work for us as breweries and the distributors,” Koch said.

Louisiana is currently home to 30 craft breweries.

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