Craft Beer Week: DRINK UP!

Go grab a craft beer as you read this! This is the week to celebrate craft beer! Just a few years ago if anyone would have said that yellow fizzy beer would decline and new bars would survive on craft beer alone we might not have believed it. Back in 1982 the first Great American Beer Festival was held in Denver with 20 breweries serving 35 beers. By the 1990s pioneer brew pubs such as Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Oaken Barrel in Greenwood, & Bloomington Brewing Company established 'beach heads' for fresh local beer.

While overall U.S. beer sales were down just slightly in 2013, craft beer sales were up a whopping 18% in volume! There are over 2,768 craft breweries in the U.S. Indiana is recognized as ranking 12th in availability of craft beers among the U.S. states. Most of us only have to drive a few MINUTES to the nearest brew pub, brewery, or craft beer bar. There are now slightly more microbreweries than brew pubs. Today 98% of the breweries in the U.S. are small and independent, meaning local businesses serving up local beer, owned by your neighbors.

According to marketing research, seasonal beers make up some of the top selling craft beers. You, and your craft beer drinking friends, like variety and flavor! The Brewer's Association recognizes 140 different beer styles when judged at the Great American Craft Beer Festival or the World Beer Cup. Okay, we need to take some yellow-fizzy out of that for Craft Beer Week but 130 craft styles means you have a lot of drinking to do!

How are you celebrating?

Hundreds of us will flock to Indianapolis City Market (May 17) for the Upland Sour + Wild + Funk Fest. This event, in its third year, is sold out. A few years ago if you gave someone a sample of lambic many would make a face. Today sour beers are well known and sell quickly when released.

So... get to your local establishment. Enjoy a craft beer. Be proud to be a craft beer drinker!

Greg Kitz

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