Hey, it’s American Craft Beer Week…
I remember when that seemed like an exciting proposition. The notion that everyone around the country was going out and celebrating locally brewed craft beer, made by independent brewers.
But a lot has changed in the 13 years since this week was established, namely two things: the rise of locality and the blurred lines of what constitutes “craft beer.”
Maybe my lack of excitement stems from how strong and established the state guilds, city guilds, and local brewers have become. I mean, who needs a national week of craft beer when many cities and states have their own dedicated events?
Portland has a 10 day PDX Beer Week in June and Oregon has it’s own Craft Beer Month in July. Not to mention all the other national events each year like CBC or GABF, or what now seems like 10 “National Beer Days,” or the ongoing torrent of festivals, one-off releases, and special events one can regularly attend.
Then there’s that second change over the past 13 years – the lack of transparency when it comes to independently crafted beer vs. those posing as craft beer.
Of the 6,000+ breweries in the United States these days, the vast majority of them are neighborhood breweries, many of which don’t even can or bottle their beers for distro. And with this focus on locality, most customers already know they’re supporting independent craft.
This year’s ACBW, the first since the release of the Independent Craft seal last June, definitely feels more like a promotional push for their “Seek the Seal” campaign. The Brewers Association is doing all they can to not only have brewers add the logo to their packaged goods, but to have retailers display POS signage as well, as seen below:
And I totally get it. I respect what the BA is doing, I’m just wondering if it’s going to matter. I would love to see more transparency in the marketplace, though quite honestly, many consumers will continue to buy whatever tastes most interesting to them.
I guess it just feels more like a marketing event than a real thing. Are there events planned? If you know of any, feel free to let me know, for if maybe we knew more about what’s going on there’d be more excitement about ACBW.
Events or not, seal or not, this week is really all about going out to support your local independent breweries, brewpubs, and/or taprooms.
So take a look at their awesome Brewery Finder to find an independent pint near you; pledge to Seek the Seal and the BA will send you a pin with the seal on it; check into an independent brewer on Untappd. And don’t forget those #ACBW and #SeekTheSeal hastags!
We’re all counting on you…
CraftBeer.com Press Release
Celebrate Small and Independent Brewers Across the Country
For the thirteenth consecutive year, small and independent brewers from coast to coast will participate in American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) from May 14-20. Presented by CraftBeer.com—the Brewers Association’s website for beer lovers—ACBW celebrates the country’s more than 6,300 small and independent brewers with events across the nation, including exclusive brewery tours, special beer releases, beer and food pairings, tap takeovers and more.
New this year, CraftBeer.com invites beer enthusiasts to toast independent craft brewers during ACBW by pledging to seek beers marked with the independent craft brewer seal. Those who pledge to seek the seal on the ACBW page on CraftBeer.com will receive their very own independent craft brewer seal pin as a badge of their support.
“While beer lovers regularly enjoy their favorite independent craft beers, American Craft Beer Week is a special occasion that provides craft beer enthusiasts across the country with the opportunity to take part in a larger movement and unite for independence,” said Jess Baker, editor in chief, CraftBeer.com. “This year, we encourage beer lovers to seek the seal and remind them to support independent craft brewers during American Craft Beer Week.”
To help beer lovers brewnite this year, CraftBeer.com created a mosaic made up of beer bottles and cans from across the country featuring the independent craft brewer seal.
Untappd, the mobile-based social network that connects breweries with craft beer lovers, is also offering an ACBW badge for users who check in a craft beer brewed by an independent craft brewer during ACBW.
Visit CraftBeer.com’s Brewery Finder to find a participating brewery near you, join the conversation using #ACBW and #SeektheSeal on social media and stay up to date with the CraftBeer.com Facebook page.
Launched in 2009, CraftBeer.com is the beer lovers website produced by the Brewers Association—the leading trade association for small and independent craft brewers. CraftBeer.com shares the stories behind America’s small and independent breweries, and is the primary educational resource on beer, beer styles, beer and food pairings and recipes along with craft beer community trends and news. CraftBeer.com publishes an extensive U.S. brewery database along with the CraftBeer.com Beer & Food Course, CraftBeer.com Beer 101 Course and annual Great American Beer Bars list, and celebrates American Craft Beer Week® and the independent craft brewer seal. Follow CraftBeer.com on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.