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Taste of Cincinnati, yes. Drinks of Cincinnati, no.

One of city’s largest summer festivals, Taste of Cincinnati, is intended to showcase local culinary talent and unique local flavors. Most would agree they succeed on this front but their selection of Cincinnati beers have some room for improvement.

68 Beers Available

For a food festival there are certainly a large number of beer options (warning, some of these “beers” are Bud Light’s mixed drinks). However, for a locally focused festival, it’s sorely lacking an accurate representation of what is produced locally.

Of the 68 beers, only 15 are local from four of the more than 20 locally operating breweries. Yep, about 20% of the beers offered are made here in our community.  The rest range from Cleveland to Kalamazoo to St. Louis to Portland.

As I understand it, one of the single largest barriers to local breweries is the cost to lease a booth.  Depending on location, it can cost as much as $10,000 for a single booth. That poses a significant barrier to small business gaining entry. Larger distributors are better able to absorb these costs, especially when spreading the costs across their macro beer brands that have a much higher margin.

I applaud their efforts for trying to offer a wide variety of options to satisfy a variety of tastes but they could really help bolster our local breweries by providing a greater representation. Many local beer drinkers haven’t been exposed to wide variety of high quality beers made in their own backyard. It seems the Taste of Cincinnati would be a very fitting venue to do this. Perhaps the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber can consider exceptions for some of these smaller local businesses in future years.

Find Locals

If you do plan attend, here is a list of the local beer options that will be poured.

  • Christian Moerlein: Altered, OTR, Push Reel, Sangerfest, Se7en
  • Hudepohl: Amber, Copper, Summer
  • MadTree: PsycHOPathy
  • Mt. Carmel: Amber
  • Rivertown: Divergent, Jenneke, Lil’ SIPA, Soulless, Wit

Mike Stuart

Craft beer enthusiast and hombrew dabbler. Part-time writer, sometimes funny.

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