Local breweries discuss addiction in craft beer industry

NOW: Local breweries discuss addiction in craft beer industry

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- One of the top craft beer brewers in the country is calling out his own industry, saying there's not enough conversation about mental health and alcoholism among breweries. 

Some breweries in Michiana are concerned about the growing problem as well. 

In an online article, Shaun Hill, founder of Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont, say the craft beer industry encourages drinking, but doesn't discuss how to deal with alcohol abuse and additiction. 

The owner of South Bend Brew Werks agrees, but hopes this can start a conversation, especially since the craft beer scene is a growing one in Michiana. 

South Bend Brew Werks owner, Steve Lowe, spends a lot of time in the basement of his brewery. 

"It's our busiest time of the year," said Lowe. "A lot of beer is going out the door." 

He says running a craft brewery can be chaotic, but like most of us he tries to relax at the end of a long day. 

"The easy thing would be, I mean I do it myself," said Lowe. "When I get done brewing I go sit down and have a beer."

While Lowe doesn't struggle with alcohol addiction, a top brewer from Vermont, says many in the craft beer industry do, but no one is addressing it. That message was then echoed by Greenbush Brewery's owner, Scott Sullivan. He said he too struggled with alcoholism but luckily was able to over come it. Lowe agrees and isn't surprised. 

"Any high stress environment is probably going to have these issues come up," said Lowe. "It can definitely be a bit of a whirlwind lifestyle."

Brandon Adolf is the executive director of Choices Recovery, an inpatient drug and alcohol facility. 

"When you go into work and have a couple of beers every day, it's really easy to go down that road to addiction," said Adolf. 

With the craft breweries popping up throughout Michiana, Adolf and Lowe say action needs to be taken. 

"It's very easy to progress to the point where a few beers turns into a full blown addiction and a lot of times that happens before you even know it," said Adolf. 

"At craft beer conferences and things, there should be seminars on about this very topic," said Lowe.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, below are the phone numbers for local Alcoholic Anonymous groups. 

South Bend: (574)234-7007

Elkhart: (574)295-8188

Niles: (269)684-5304

Buchanan: (269)695-4306

Plymouth: (855)631-4647 

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