Our Week is Coming!

American Craft Beer Week is May 14-20, 2007 and features celebrations by hundreds of craft breweries. The week recognizes our industry of small, independent and traditional brewers and contributions the craft beer community makes to our economy, culture and history.

“America’s small brewers are part of a movement, a shift in consciousness, and the trading up of what beer people drink,” stated Julia Herz, a spokesperson for the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association for America’s small brewers. “American Craft Beer Week will highlight craft brewers and the beer drinkers that support this grassroots effort.”

The theme of American Craft Beer Week is “Visit your local brewery” in an effort to highlight America’s nearly 1,400 craft breweries. With at least one in every state, the average American lives within 10 miles of a brewery. To further encourage brewery visits, the Brewers Association will conduct the Great American Beer Tour from May 14-20th.

The program awards points to participants for each brewery visit, allowing them to earn premiums such as beer mugs and logo shirts. The beer tour traveler who accumulates the greatest number of points will receive an all-expenses paid trip for two to the 26th Great American Beer Festival held in Denver, Colorado October 11-13, 2007. More than 850 Brewers Association member breweries will have passports to validate. Details of the program are available at www.GreatAmericanBeerTour.org.

In 2006, over 125 craft brewers had specific American Craft Beer Week celebrations and the entire craft beer community celebrated House Resolution 753 that recognized, among other things, the 33,000 jobs the craft beer industry provides. Now in 2007, the formation of the Congressional Small Brewers Caucus has generated much excitement on Capitol Hill. Co-chaired by Congressmen Peter DeFazio (OR-4) and Greg Walden (OR-2), this group will provide an important forum for Congressmen to learn about and discuss the issues of importance to the community of American craft brewers.

Over the past three years, craft beer has grown 31.5%, and for 2006 the segment had sales of $4.6 billion. According to scan data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI), the craft beer segment is the fastest growing segment of alcohol surpassing other beer, wine, and spirits with a 17.8% increase in dollar sales from 2005.

Now that’s something to toast to!