Book pours out stories of Kansas beer

By Ted Ayers | October 1, 2022

Michael Travis isn’t a native Kansan, but he probably knows as much about the state’s craft beer scene as anyone.

A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Travis spent the bulk of his career with Topeka-based Payless Shoes before a pandemic-induced career change gave him the flexibility to research and write “Celebrating Kansas Breweries: People, Places and Stories” (American Palate, 2002, $23.99). 

Travis put 6,000 miles on his Honda pilot while travelling to 37 towns and cities that house breweries — 59 in all.

“I have fallen in love with every corner of our Sunflower State while traveling twenty-eight consecutive weeks,” he writes. Travis adds that he “met more people and made more friends in 2021 than I have in my entire life.”

One fun feature of the book are the itineraries that Travis suggests. There’s a chapter devoted to the 13 breweries in Wichita and surrounding communities (“The Wichita Way”). The Lawrence-to-Manhattan corridor, western Kansas and southwestern and southeastern corners of the state are other destinations.

Obviously, this is a book about beer (or as Larry Cook of the Dodge City Brewery says, “I love talking about beer!”). But the book also delves into business and entrepreneurs; life in small-town Kansas; hopes, dreams and revitalization/preservation.

If you like craft beer, a copy of this book makes a great travel companion and guide to Kansas breweries.

Contact Ted Ayres at