LOUISVILLE, Ky. — While Kentucky is known for its booming bourbon industry, there is also plenty to say about the state’s history when it comes to another spirit — beer. 

What You Need To Know

  • Louisville Ale Trail wants to make Kentucky Common the official state beer 

  • It's one of only a few beers that originated in the U.S.
  • Currently only a handfull of beweries still make it
  • This style of beer came into popularity in the mid-1800s

One of those brews is the Kentucky Common. A dark ale which came into popularity before beer cans or bottles were mass-produced, it is one of only a handful of beers that originated in the United States. 

This style of beer is something that Louisville Ale Trail wants to celebrate and honor. The group, made up of beer lovers who promote Louisville’s growing beer scene, wants to make the Kentucky Common the state’s official beer. 

John Ronayne (Left) & Michael Moeller (Right) are co-founders of Louisville Ale Trail (Spectrum News 1/Mason Brighon)
John Ronayne (Left) & Michael Moeller (Right) are co-founders of Louisville Ale Trail (Spectrum News 1/Mason Brighon)

“It’s a style that we can and should own,” Michael Moeller, co-founder of Louisville Ale Trail, said. 

Recently, the organization has had some fun on April Fools’ Day to drum up interest in their goal. 

“We thought it would be funny to imagine a world in which one of the biggest beer producers made a Kentucky Common,” Moeller said. “And it’s also no secret that craft breweries and Budweiser don’t get along, so thought it’d be extra funny to kind of get them into the mix.”

The group went as far as creating specially printed bottles for the announcement. 

“I think people had fun, and we got a little bit more attention on the Kentucky Common,” Moeller said. 

Louisville Ale Trail also has an online petition for their cause. It currently has over 200 signatures. 

In 2022, the group helped introduce a resolution in the Kentucky House of Representatives proclaiming the Kentucky Common as the state beer. While that measure failed to advance, Moeller says they plan to try again in the future. 

Falls City Beer in Louisville, known for being the city’s oldest operating brewery, currently brews a Kentucky Common year-round. It’s one of the few breweries in the state still making this style of beer. 

Cameron Finnis is the head brewer at Falls City Beer (Spectrum News 1/Mason Brighton)

“You know it’s a nice historical adaptation to modern brewing,” Cameron Finnis, head brewer at Falls City Beer, said.

Before prohibition, Finnis says the Kentucky Common was extremely popular. 

“Before then, 75% of all local beer was a Kentucky Common served in the city of Louisville,” Finnis said. 

Finnis adds he backs the Kentucky Common becoming the state beer. 

“Breweries as far as New York and California are making Kentucky Common, I think it’s more than fair that we get some recognition from the state about this piece of history,” Finnis said. 

A positive sign for Moeller that there are people who also want to see recognition for a piece of Kentucky history.