State and local officials celebrated one of Wisconsin’s growing industries, craft beer, last week and chose Octopi Brewing as one of several breweries around the state to visit.

Octopi’s growth has been rapid since it opened four years ago, so much that the company added on a 32,000-square-foot addition this year. That allowed the contract beverage company to add a canning line and branch out into other products, such as hard seltzer.

Octopi is one of three breweries in the Waunakee area, and each has its own distinct business profile. Octopi’s main business is contract brewing – producing beer for other breweries – although through a partnership with another brewery, its Untitled Art brews beer for the taproom where a kitchen is now located.

The Lone Girl Brewing Co. on Main Street includes a full service restaurant and event space. And the Parched Eagle in Westport is all about the beer, with owner and brewer Jim Goronson operating what’s been referred to as a “nano brewery,” where he produces one or two barrels at a time. It’s brewing facility is located at Willow Road, with a larger taproom on East Washington Avenue in Madison.

All of these breweries share one thing in common. They provide meeting spaces for local residents close to home and attract people from other areas looking to taste the uniquely brewed beers.

They all add to the local economy, producing jobs, as well, not only in the form of servers but suppliers of their ancillary products – hops, grains, tanks and more.

With their own brands, they all give us something to be proud of in our community.

So the next time you hoist one of these craft beers, think about the $2.25 billion they contribute to the state’s economy.

As state Sen. Jon Erpenbach expressed it so concisely, “Beer: it’s good.”

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