Crow Peak Brewing ends 69-year commercial brewery drought in South Dakota

A glass offered for sale at Crow Peak Brewing Company's Spearfish facility. (Image courtesy of Crow Peak Brewing Co.)South Dakota beer lovers have not had a brew to call their own since 1942, when the last commercial brewery in the state, Dakota Brewery in Huron, closed down. By "commercial brewery," I mean one that produces cans or bottles for distribution at retail outlets away from the brewery.

That all changed in recent months with the distribution of Crow Peak beer, from Crow Peak Brewing Co. in Spearfish (the name comes from a Black Hills peak near the city).

I had the luck of stumbling across Crow Peak’s distribution plans two years ago while I was researching a news story about breweries in the state. Ever since then, I’ve been watching for Crow Peak beer on the shelves of my neighborhood grocery store’s alcohol section.

Sunday, the wait ended. I was thrilled when I saw Crow Peak’s 11th Hour IPA and Pile ‘o Dirt Porter on the shelves next to all the other craft beers. I bought a six-pack of the IPA and have been enjoying it immensely.

Crow Peak sells its beer in cans, which I believe puts it at the forefront of a growing trend of brewers affirming that a can protects the quality of the beer better than a bottle (it has to do with light and air, I think, but I’m no expert). The Crow Peak can designs are really neat — they have sort of a funky ’70s feel with a modern twist.

The beer is complex and flavorful and is, therefore, probably not going to appeal to everyone. But I think those who love craft beer will be surprised to find that some very high-quality brews are available from a brewery right here in South Dakota. The price is a bit higher than the other craft beers I usually buy, but I think it’s more than worth the price to support a South Dakota brewery and get a beer that I know is brewed fresh within a half-day’s driving distance of where I live.

I’m not sure how far Crow Peak’s distribution effort has spread, but I hope South Dakotans and tourists will look for the beer at locations throughout the state. If Crow Peak is successful, perhaps more South Dakota breweries will spring up and revive the state’s long-dormant tradition of brewing

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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