Craft brewers look local for untapped demand

DAVID DISHNEAU - Associated Press
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In this July 25, 2011 photo, Flying Dog Brewery's head brewer Ben Clark takes a sip of wort, a sugary liquid that is fermented by yeast to eventually create beer, at the brewery's headquarters in Frederick, Md. The company plans to end shipments to more than a dozen states beyond the east coast in order to burnish its image as a craft brewer and attract more consumers who are interested in buying local. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Some craft brewers are growing by shrinking.

Beer makers such as Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, Md. say they're dropping out of distant markets to focus on selling more beer at home.

The strategy reflects the growing thirst everywhere for boutique beers made by breweries that simply can't make enough to meet the demand.

Instead of shipping beer across the country, these companies are following the lead of New Glarus Brewing Co. of Wisconsin. President Deb Carey says they decided in the late 1990s to pull out of Chicago and sell beer only in their home state. It was a smart move. She says sales have grown annually, sometimes by double digits. And she sees vast numbers of Miller Light drinkers still to be won over in the Dairy State.