SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Asking brewmaster, Ashton Lewis, to pick a favorite pint is like asking your mom to pick a favorite child.
“I do not have a favorite beer,” he laughs. “They’re like children, they’re like songs that you compose, they all have their own personality and some have their own place in time.”
If Lewis did have a favorite beer, its place in time would likely be December of 1997, when he co-founded Springfield Brewing Company.
“I was shocked how little beer there was here as far as craft beer,” he says.
SBC would go on to be the third craft brewery in Springfield’s history.
“Springfield Brewing Company really helped grow downtown and bring this part of the city to life,” he remembers.
And that’s not all the craft beer pioneers would spawn.
According to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, “Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing” generated more than $2 million in employee wages in 2016, just in Greene County, with five businesses operating in that industry.
Four of those are commonly recognized craft breweries. Springfield Brewing Company, Mothers Brewing Company (founded in 2011), White River Brewing Company (founded in 2012), and 2016’s Lost Signal.
According to a co-founder of Colorado-based Tie and Timber Beer Co., next year could yield yet another brewery, as the company plans to relocate to a building on Cherry Street in Springfield.
“If you were a musician and you went to Nashville, Tennessee, and you were the only guy in town playing music, it would be not the same,” says Lewis. “The beer community really feeds on itself. That’s exciting because 20 years ago that would not have happened.”