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WorkinCT: Still Hill Brewery an example of exploding local craft brew industry

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ROCKY HILL -- It started with a passion for beer.

“I started home brewing, probably about 11 years ago.  I started to get decent at it and friends and family started telling me I should open a brewery,” said Scott Barbanel, founder of Still Hill Brewery.

After years of telling them they were crazy, Scott Barbanel thought they were on to something.  He went through training, got a degree in brewing and started Still Hill Brewery in Rocky Hill about two and half years ago.

“We brew a wide range of beers, so we don’t specialize on any one style.  I like all different beers.  It depends on my mood,” said Barbanel.

The names on the wall show what’s on tap and the beers are as unique as the names.  Sluggy Buggy was created after Barbanel’s son came up with the idea.

“The inspiration can come from anywhere.  It can come from me being out at a restaurant or bar and having a beer I really like, and I want to come back and make that style, or customers or my sales staff or my people that work there,” said Barbanel.

He says the craft brew industry is exploding in Connecticut.  When he started his business, he says there were a little more than 30 breweries in the state.  Now he says there are more than 80.

“People are just falling in love with craft beer.  They’re starting to understand that beer is a very complex beverage, and the flavor profiles are tremendous,” said Barbanel.

That just makes him work harder to figure out new beers to stay competitive.

“At some point, every industry that’s growing hits that saturation point, that there’s not enough consumers to support the number of operations.  All we can do is work our best to produce the best, highest quality beers that we can,” said Barbanel.

Still Hill Brewery is open from Thursday through Sunday.  If you aren’t a beer fan, it also carries wine and cider.

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