American Craft Beer Week is coming up! May 11-17, 2009 has been set aside for a national celebration highlighting the culture and contributions of craft beer. It’s being hosted by hundreds of small and independent brewers who hope to inspire beer enthusiasts to declare their independence by supporting independently owned breweries that produce fewer than 2 million barrels of beer a year.
Thanks to the innovation and passion of America’s craft brewers who have taken beer styles to the next level, the U.S. has become known as the best beer nation in the world. Not to mention, small and independent craft brewers provide nearly 100,000 jobs, and in 2008 the total taxable barrels of beer produced by craft brewers was 8,596,971.
Additionally, many craft brewers go to incredible lengths and great costs to lessen their impact on their surrounding environment and community. Representing 4.0 percent by volume and 6.3 percent in dollars of the overall beer market, consumer interest in the craft sector continues to grow, but not without challenges. According to the Brewers Association, the cost of operating a small brewery has increased over 39% November 2007 to November 2008.
Today’s craft brewers face many challenges including the following:
- Access to ingredients and raw materials
- Increased pricing for materials and supplies
- Access to market (competition for shelf space at the retail level)
In 2006, the inaugural American Craft Beer Week was recognized by the U.S. Congress with House Resolution 753. Since then, the week has continued to attract interest and support from beer enthusiasts and media with more than 180 breweries formally participating in 2008.
For 2009, special brewery tours, beer and food pairing events, special release craft beers and festivals all across the U.S. are in the works. They’ve even got a Declaration of Beer Independence!
An American Craft Beer Week Facebook fan page has been created for the event and according to Julia Herz, a spokesperson for the Brewers Association, there is a goal of having 10,000 people on Facebook declare their beer independence.
Participating breweries are also encouraging beer enthusiasts to sign it and local breweries and restaurants will also post a copy of the Declaration, so that patrons can show their support.
For a full list of brewery celebrations by state, visit americancraftbeerweek.org.
[techtags:CRAFT BEER, AMERICAN CRAFT BEER WEEK, BEER INDEPENDENCE, MICROBREWS]