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New Southern Illinois Beer Trail highlights some of the region's best breweries

  • Members of the Southern Illinois Beer Trail gather at Scratch for a meeting.

    Members of the Southern Illinois Beer Trail gather at Scratch for a meeting.
    Courtesy of the Southern Illinois Beer Trail

By Colleen Frease
Contributing writer
updated: 10/5/2017 10:31 AM

Move over wine, Southern Illinois now has its own beer trail.

The Southern Illinois Beer Trail got a jump-start with the help of Abby Ancell, general manager and owner at St. Nicholas Brewing Company in Du Quoin.

"We knew we wanted a way to connect all the breweries in southern Illinois, especially since more have been popping up in recent years," Ancell said. "In the past six months, we wanted to get the ball rolling to get the word out about everything that is happening with the breweries in southern Illinois."

Ancell and her business partners helped set up the official Southern Illinois Beer Trail Association and sent out information to many breweries inviting them to come to a meeting to discuss setting up the Beer Trail.

The Trail's official Facebook page lists 16 participating establishments as of July 10. The trail has a wide selection of beer, and a strong local presence with Molly's Pint, Big Muddy, Route 51, and Abbey Ridge once it reopens in early 2018. The trail provides a variety of choices with The Stubborn German that brews both beer as well as spirits in Waterloo. The Brew Trail also features a local distillery in Columbia called Stumpy's Spirits.

The trail has a pamphlet that includes all participating establishments and is available for customers to get when they visit the various locations.

The different routes are available for viewing on its Facebook page. There are green, blue and red loops. The routes also include participating breweries that are set to open in the next year.

The idea behind the Beer Trail is to create a collaborative environment where locally owned breweries can help support each other and share the wealth when it comes to establishing a loyal customer base.

"The Facebook page is a great place to get information with what is going on with the Beer Trail," Ancell said. "There are features for some of the breweries, the distillery as well as some of the breweries that haven't even opened yet. It's basically a way to all connect, help each other out and let people know about all the fun ideas about things we want to do in and around southern Illinois."

The main goal this year for Ancell was to help get the trail established and the pamphlet distributed so there was a way to let people know about what all the breweries were doing to create something fun and different to do in southern Illinois.

"We are taking it one step at a time," Ancell said. "We had our two main goals for this year, and we accomplished both of them. Everyone is excited about what we are doing and we want to keep that going."

For more information, on the Southern Illinois Beer Trail, check out the Facebook page.

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