Is the new American pastime brewing beer? It might be considering that more people than ever trying out home brewing in their tubs, that beer tasting becoming as fancy as wine tastings, and that microbreweries popping up on every corner. Indeed, craft brewers sold an estimated 24,076,864 barrels of beer in 2015.
The field, once vacant, has become crowded and demands competition, as is the case with the plans for the new museums of Beer, and the cities of Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee are dying to have it.
Each city has plans for a beer museum in the works — Pittsburgh’s Museum of Beer, Chicago’s Brewseum, and Milwaukee’s Museum of Beer andamp; Brewing. Plus, a building dedicated to America’s booze of choice already exists — the National Brewery Museum in Potosi, Wisconsin.
Chicago’s Brewseum, which is still in its fundraising phase, has already filled a board of directors, and advisory board with big names in Chicago beer. These include Goose Island’s John Hall and Hopleaf bar owner Michael Roper.
Pittsburgh, a city that has a rich brewing history including its first brewery dating to Colonial times and a famous modern beer scene, would be a great place for a beer museum. The group who has taken charge of the endeavor, the National Beer Museum Development Group (NBMDG), recently went public after years of research and groundwork. Their plan is for a 50,000 square-foot space called Brew: Museum of Beer, which will include a beer hall of fame and a 300-seat brewpub.
But let’s not forget about the National Brewery Museum in Potosi Brewing, which is the revival of a local brewery that was opened and operated between 1852 and 1972. That museum concentrated on the industrial history of beer and collections of old brewing memorabilia.
All of these new and old beer museums may be vying for national attention, but as long as the brewers keep brewing and beer culture still thrives, we think they’ll be visitors enough at each and every one of them.
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