AVA, IL (KFVS) - An Ava brewery is looking to expand and create jobs after winning big at the Great American Beer Festival.
The Little Egypt Beer won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado.
This brewery, just outside of Ava, Illinois, sits quietly off Route 3 on Buttermilk Hill Road. It is small with less than a half dozen seats. However, their product has gained a lot of attention.
The largest national beer competition, the Great American Beer Festival, was held on October 6, 2014. This festival recognizes the most outstanding beers produced in the United States.
Little Egypt Hefeweizen was recognized and awarded the gold medal in the South German Style-Hefeweizen beer style category. This beer style is an unfiltered wheat beer with a fruity banana aroma and flavor. Little Egypt Beer is a nano-brewery producing less than 300 barrels of beer per year.
The 2014 GABF competition winners were selected by an international panel of 222 expert judges from the record number of 5,507 entries, plus 89 Pro-Am entries, received from 1,309 U.S. breweries.
Ken Rhude, owner of Little Egypt Beer, says he still can't believe they won.
"This puts southern Illinois on the map now," Rhude said.
He hopes this win will generate a lot more business. Rhude says this win not only helps revenue for his business, but also for Jackson County and the surrounding areas where this product is sold.
He says there are talks about tours throughout southern Illinois showcasing their brewery along with others.
"Not only is this a big win for Little Egypt Beer, but also for the people of southern Illinois," Rhude said.
Rhude says this win is so big that there are plans to expand and build another brewery closer to Carbondale. This new brewery will generate about 20 new jobs.