LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Move over Bourbon, there's another beverage in town that also has its own trail. Mayor Greg Fischer and the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau today introduced "Lou's Brew" - a guide that highlights local breweries for locals and tourists.
Fischer said the idea came from the Beer Work Group he created in 2014 to grow the brewing industry and create more jobs as part of the city's effort to become a global food and spirits capital.
"Our city continues to gain popularity as a food and beverage destination," Fischer said. "Lou's Brew is one more reason to visit Louisville and our city's unique authentic attractions. We have a great and growing collection of local breweries that are revitalizing our rich brewing history."
"Louisville is gaining a reputation as a spirits capital and culinary tourism destination with not only our bourbon distilleries, but world class brandy, liqueur, absinthe, moonshine, wine and craft beer makers as well," said Karen Williams, president and CEO of Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. "With Lou's Brews, we hope to further increase visitation to Louisville by showcasing the city's rich brewing heritage and fine local product. Furthermore, we look forward to welcoming new breweries to Lou's Brews as our craft beer scene continues to grow."
Behind papered windows, across from Schnitzelburg's Iconic Check's Cafe, the craft beer business is about to start hoppin' - The Monnik Beer Company will open in September.
"One of my reservations with moving to the U.S. was the lack of beer," said co-owner Ian Luijk.
But that's no longer the case for Luijk, a Dutch transplant to the 'Ville, who is now very excited about his in just a few weeks. He quickly found out, Louisville's craft beer scene is growing in numbers and by reputation.
Mayor Greg Fischer agreed, that's why he helped organize "Lou's Brew," a new Louisville guide mapping out 14 craft breweries in Louisville and southern Indiana.
"If you like good beer, I'll put these 14 (craft beer companies) up against any other 14 in any other city," Fischer said.
In their 10,000 square foot space rehabbed with reclaimed wood and classic materials, Luijk and his business partner Brian Holton have been renovating what will be a European style restaurant and pub where neighbors will walk and bike in complete with a back patio. The bar and brewery will feature a variety of Belgians, Sours and English-style ales.
"I started home brewing in 1992," said Monnik Beer Company Head Brewer Scott Hand.
Well before craft beer was popular, Hand was experimenting. He still is, and that might set the Monnik Beer Company apart. The other thing that sets them apart from craft beer sellers nearby?
"There aren't any breweries in this area," Hand said.
Being part of "Lou's Brew" will help visitors find them off the beaten path.
Luijk said, "And what better place than Schnitzelburg, I feel like this place is ready for a brewery."
To celebrate the launch of this new visitor experience, Fischer will host a Lou's Brew Bike Ride on Saturday, August 29, departing from Great Flood Brewing on Bardstown Road at 10 a.m. The ride will stop at five breweries giving everyone a chance to tour the facility, talk with the brewers and enjoy a small taste of their creations. The event ends at Falls City Brewery about 2 p.m. with a street festival. The festival is free and open to the public.
According to the Mayor's office, during the late 1800s and early 1900s, Louisville was a major southern brewing hub, competing with the likes of Midwestern giants Milwaukee and St. Louis. As German immigrants migrated into Louisville, they carried on their rich ethnic history of beer brewing. A century later, the city's brewing scene is hopping again. New distilleries are opening; and new brews are coming. The brand Falls City has returned and Against the Grain is exporting to Europe and several new breweries are opening.
Lou's Brew's physical and virtual map will encourage more people to explore the unique stories of all the craft breweries in Louisville and southern Indiana, including:
- Against the Grain
- Beer Engine
- Cumberland Brews
- Falls City
- Flat 12 Bierwerks
- Gordon Biersch
- Great Flood
- New Albanian
- Various locations of BBC
Lou's Brew maps and information are available by clicking here.