SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- While domestic beer sales keep sliding, microbrewery beers keep booming. Springfield's newest brand is ready to tap into the trend.
It's called White River Brewing Company. It's the third brewery in Springfield and one of four new breweries coming to the Ozarks. They are riding the craft brew wave. Not since before Prohibition has here been this many craft breweries in the country.
"We were trying to get a name that would identify us with the Ozarks," said White River Brewing Company chief executive officer John 'Buz' Hosfield. "It's fun. It's a lot of fun."
According to the Brewers Association, there are now 2,126 breweries in the United States, more than there have been since 1890.
"It's taking off everywhere, all over the country," Hosfield said.
One estimate is a new brewery opens nearly every single day.
"There is such a huge market out there. If we can carve just a little bit out of the big guys, that's plenty for all of us," said Hosfield.
White River Brewing Company nearly didn't happen. Hosfield's stepsons originally came up with the idea.
"So we bought the building and ultimately bought the equipment," Hosfield said.
The sons then decided to move on to greener pastures. However, business broker and now general manager Rod Triplett told Buz to not let the dream die.
"Let's go ahead and make it a brewery. Let's fulfill your dream," Triplett said.
They soon found brewmaster Dave Lamb. They started pushing forward.
White River will soon be in restaurants and bars in the Springfield area. They plan to supply beer to Farmer's Gastropub, Patton Alley Pub, and Scotch and Soda at first. They plan to expand.
"We can only have four beers going at one time. If we get a couple more fermenters, maybe a couple large fermenters, why we can double our output in no time," Hosfield said.
The company has room to expand and certainly plans to do so.
"We would like to grow the company of course. We'd like to expand the other side of our building into a restaurant brew pub," Triplett said.
The company will start bottling operations in April or May. Premium Beverage is handling the distribution.
White River Brewing Company is at 505 W. Commercial Street. While they do offer private tastings, they are not planning on a retail aspect of the business on location.
Hosfield believes the brewery can help bring some life to Commercial Street. He looks forward to more restaurants and retail moving to the area.
The brewery employs two full time employees and two part time employees. As the business expands, Hosfield expects to hire more help.