The Spring 2023 issue of Food & Dining Magazine is now available in all the familiar places: Louisville area eateries and food shops, newsstands and online.

Louisville area brewery news items have been coming so fast the past two weeks that my vintage pair of Crane brand scissors, little tub of drawer-conditioned Elmer’s and increasingly arthritic fingers can barely keep up with the ol’ cut and paste routine.

Consequently, I’ve declared it’s time for a Two-Fer, with a Hip Hops column both Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Here are ten local brewing news snippets with links, listed alphabetically. They’re followed by the wonderful beer writer Jeff Alworth’s most recent blog post, which considers the many unexpected changes that are affecting the beer biz in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Against the Grain: The 2nd annual Burgoo Bash Pro-Am cook-off is this Saturday, March 18, at AtG’s Slugger Field location (3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.), with a portion of the proceeds going to APRON Inc. As an added incentive, your humble correspondent will be among the judges.

Atrium Brewing: Opening day for Atrium’s taproom at Norton Commons (11205 River Beauty Loop) is Friday, March 17. Haley Cawthon has the story at Louisville Business First.

Donum Dei Brewery: The brewery’s annual Drunken Unicorn release festivities have been expanded to Friday and Saturday (March 17 and 18). Opening time both days is 7:00 a.m., with biscuits and gravy on offer until 10:30 (or when they’re gone). There’ll be food both days at noon: A fish fry on St. Patrick’s Day, and barbecue on Saturday.

Goodwood Brewing: The brewery’s sixth on premise location is coming to Bowling Green, Kentucky later this year (courtesy of Michael Ridgeway at News 40).

Gravely Brewing: You can stop missing the Mayans. The long-awaited new food truck occupant at Gravely is Lil’ Toasty’s, a spinoff of Toasty’s Tavern, specializing in burgers (LBF’s Laurel Deppen reports).

Kyros Brewing: According to LBF’s Michael L. Jones, there’ll be a new brewery in Portland at 2425 Portland Avenue. Kyros, which has admirably managed to fly under the radar thus far, will operate primarily as a weekend beer garden with very limited indoor space, and also intends to be family-friendly (as the owners all have young children).

Monnik Beer Company: On Monday, March 20 at 11:00 a.m. Schnitzelburg’s oldest brewery (1036 E. Burnett) will celebrate Scott Hand Day with a toast to the late, great brewmaster, plus special barrel-aged Barleywine releases.

Pivot Brewing: The grand opening of the Lexington, Kentucky brewery’s Louisville taproom in the Highands (1753 Bardstown Road) was last week, as related by Eleanor Tolbert at LBF.

Tailspin Ale Fest: Fortunately the tenth edition took place the say after 80-mph winds wreaked havoc in metro Louisville. This fest review by Jeff Polk at LEO Weekly is very positive but also offers constructive criticism, always a fine line to crawl. But we all agree that Tailspin is a civic gem.

West Sixth NuLu: Again from LBF’s Jones, the NuLu Marketplace brewery is adding sharable food (“dips, tacos, wings”) in April. Patrons will still be able to bring outside food into West Sixth’s seating space.

You might choose to dismiss the writer Alworth’s poll results, and one size doesn’t always fit all; Portland OR and Louisville KY are different in many ways. Yet each of the ten preceding Louisville area brewery news items is predicated on people leaving their homes to visit local taprooms, restaurants, beer gardens and festivals—and Alworth’s poll results suggest such venturing out hasn’t reached pre-pandemic levels, and might not ever.

There’s no pay wall, so treat yourself to the read.

THREE YEARS LATER, AN ALTERED WORLD, by Jeff Alworth (at Beervana)

I’ve been shocked at how much traffic is down in my favorite pubs, and how quickly they close each night. Over the weekend, I took to Twitter to confirm or disprove my impressions about pub-going, and the results were shocking. I asked people how often they were going to the pubs compared to 2019. These polls aren’t scientific, but in this case that makes the results all the more pointed: I wasn’t asking regular people, I was quizzing the most avid beer fans in the US.

I got a nice response—five hundred folks. Of those, just more than a third are going to the pub as often as they once did (30%) or going more often (7%). Almost two-thirds of the respondents said they were going less often, and a shocking 35% were going “far less often.”

For breweries, that has huge consequences. By most accounts, taprooms are still profitable (though maybe not in downtown cores), but draft volumes are down substantially across the board.

Roger Baylor is an entrepreneur, educator, and innovator with 41 years of beer business experience in metropolitan Louisville as a bartender, package store clerk, brewery owner, restaurateur, writer, traveler, polemicist, homebrewing club founder, tour operator and all-purpose contrarian.
As a co-owner (1990 – 2018) of New Albanian Brewing Company Pizzeria & Public House in New Albany, Indiana – founded in 1987, 1992, 2002 and 2009 – Baylor played a seminal role in metro Louisville’s contemporary beer renaissance. He currently is beer director at Pints&union in New Albany.
Baylor’s “Hip Hops” columns on beer-related subjects have been a fixture in Food & Dining Magazine since 2005, where he currently serves as digital editor and print contributor. He is a former columnist at both the New Albany Tribune and LEO Weekly, and founder of the NA Confidential blog (2004 – 2020).