SALT LAKE CITY - Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski proclaimed the month of April "Craft Beer Month," to recognize the city's local brewers and their contribution to Utah's economy.
Craft brewing is a booming business that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars a year. The industry is getting busier, with new breweries popping up all over Salt Lake City and Utah.
Kiitos on 6th West and 700 South is one of those new craft breweries. Tavern manager Casey Day said they opened their doors in December, to a great reception in the community.
"It has been getting busier every week, which is awesome," she said.
They are one of more than a dozen brewpubs and microbreweries in Salt Lake City. It's a far cry from the scene 20 years ago, when Salt Lake City only had three microbreweries to enjoy a local beer at.
On Monday, Mayor Biskupski announced a month-long celebration of where the scene sits today, by reading a proclamation at a special gathering for members of the Utah Brewer's Guild.
“Salt Lake City’s brewpubs and breweries have been a favorite of locals but also lets tourists know the world is welcome here,” said Mayor Biskupski. “April is a great time to acknowledge these establishments for what they bring to the City’s economy and eclecticism.”
The craft beer industry contributes $450 million to the Utah economy each year and is closely tied to tourism, the Mayor's Office said.
“The Utah Brewers Guild is thrilled Mayor Biskupski is choosing to honor the significant and growing positive impact the craft beer industry has on our community,” said Cassie Slattery, Utah Brewers Guild executive director.
While there's 15 craft breweries in Salt Lake City, Slattery said there are more than 20 in the state currently in operation and that number is expected to grow.
"By the end of 2018, there will be close to thirty, which is a huge growth rate," Slattery said.
At Kiitos, Day said the craft brewing community is supportive and she sees new breweries opening frequently.
Even with the unusual beer laws that mandate beer on tap stay at 4-percent alcohol by volume, she said it's not a "bummer" like some might think.
"It has pushed brewers to get very creative as to what they can do with a 4-percent beer, and flavors and taste profiles," she said.
That makes for delicious brews that she indicated can even surprise tourists who might be weary of the low-point beer.
"It's always exciting when you have people from out of town come in, and be blown away with the quality of a 4-percent beer," Day said.
Kiitos currenty has ten beers on tap, Day said. But with good business and a bright future, they plan to expand and brew even more varieties in the near future.