Reno’s Era of Craft is happening right now, don’t miss it

If you want a Drinkable Reno, it starts now

Some say Reno’s craft scene is approaching critical mass. They are wrong. Reno is just getting started.

This moment in time, right now while you’re reading this, is critical. This is the moment Reno’s craft scene becomes a legitimate driving force for local pride, tourism, industry and identity. This is the moment to jump on that bandwagon — you, me, legislators, retailers, distributors, business owners.

In Nevada, we have our first six modern distilleries open or opening soon (and here and here and here and here and here). Our first Nevada bourbon is coming out in June (pause, read that again). Our thirteenth Reno brewery is opening soon with a fourteenth coming soon. Our only remaining brewpub from 1993 is still going strong and expanding with 23 other breweries and brewpubs scattered throughout Nevada. Our first hops farm is growing right now. Our first estate winery is expanding and two other wineries beside them grow strong. Our own stainless steel brewing equipment makers are now booked a year out. Our own brewing and distilling grain grows in Winnemucca and Fallon.

So where do we go from here, this starting point, to rival Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Pennsylvania? What’s holding us back, how do we get better?

Do our outdated prohibition-era laws hinder entrepreneurs? Yes, emphatically. Do Nevada legislators’ strange sense of morality inhibit business planning? Absolutely. Do our traditional attitudes and culture of old western “I’m not that fancy and get off my lawn” mentality stop businesses from growing? Probably a little.

But laws change. Craft can become part of our identity. Attitudes evolve.

We’re all here together, educating each other, spurring on competition, patronizing innovative craft establishments. The simple fact that this site exists, means we’re moving forward. We’re just young and inexperienced — Reno’s first modern generation of craft beer, wine and spirits. We’re trying on a new pair of shoes to see how they fit. It’s nice, maybe a bit snug, but we just need to break them in.

If Reno wants to be a destination for food and drink, outdoors and recreation, gaming and tourism then we have to move along together. That means supporting the businesses and being critical about their offerings while being patient with newcomers (you think your favorite breweries were immediately award winning?). That means producers with thick skin who listen to customers and focus on great service and improving their products. That means no more petty squabbles between the business owners, Midtown, Downtown and local casinos. That means healthy competition that builds the community instead of dividing it.

If you want a Drinkable Reno, it starts now. With you.

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Mike Higdon

Editor & Publisher at Drinkable Reno
Mike Higdon is a journalist passionate about beer and cocktails. He started the site because no one else covered Reno's growing craft scene at the level of detail required to stay in the know about all things drinkable in Reno.

3 thoughts on “Reno’s Era of Craft is happening right now, don’t miss it

  1. Agreed! We can all work together to not only improve our image within our local market, but to become a more attractive market for tourism. Reno is more than gambling. We have an amazing food and drink culture that is growing and improving every day. I know I speak for the rest of the Bartenders’ Guild members when I say, get on board! Reno is up and coming, get out there and experience it. We have a lot of talent and even more passion to offer!

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