American Craft Beer Week has begun

My fellow Americans, the United States Congress encourages you to show your appreciation of the accomplishments of American craft brewers this week by attending events at microbreweries, brewpubs, and beer stores across the United States. Well, okay, if they insist.

As the ten-day-long Seattle Beer Week rolls happily along, today (Monday, May 17th) marks the official beginning of American Craft Beer Week. Orchestrated by the Brewers Association, American Craft Beer Week celebrates small and independent craft brewers and highlights America’s love for craft beer. Deemed “the mother of all beer weeks,” American Craft Beer Week was established in 2006.

Seattle enjoys a vibrant craft beer scene the likes of which can only be found in a small handful of cities in America, and Seattle Beer Week does a fantastic job of celebrating that collective appreciation for fine beer, but American Craft Beer Week celebrates the accomplishments of the craft beer industry nationwide. It is our chance as craft beer lovers to show our appreciation for the craft beer industry, not just to enjoy the fruits. American Craft Beer Week is about celebrating the craft beer revolution of the past thirty years, not just about celebrating our own love of beer.

Seattle Beer Week fits nicely into American Craft Beer Week. When you head out to your next SBW event, take a moment to reflect on the impact that craft beer has on jobs and the economy. Try to imagine a time in American history when “good beer” meant Michelob and Lowenbrau. It is hard to imagine and easy to take for granted, but it wasn’t that long ago.

When you hoist that next pint, do so in tribute to local heroes like Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, Bert Grant, Paul Shipman, Will Kemper and other pioneers. Remember that when they originally opened their breweries back in the 1980s there was no road map and no guarantee that their businesses would succeed. In fact, there was no craft beer industry at all. They were risk-takers and visionaries. Our brewers today stand on their shoulders. Be thankful that young, entrepreneurial-minded people are picking up the torch today and running with it.

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Think about the people in Oklahoma who just last week were awarded the legal right to make homebrew and the brewers in Iowa who are just now getting the right to make beer stronger than 5.0 ABV. We’re all Americans and they need our support in their struggle to catch up.

Think about the jobs that your IPA creates. Think about the industry, commerce and agriculture for which your Stout is responsible.

It’s great that you love beer and there is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating that, but this whole “craft beer thing” has really gotten out of hand in a beautiful and delicious way. Give thanks, pay homage, whatever you want to call it, but remember that American Craft Beer Week is about more than just your own love of the suds. As a craft beer lover you are supporting American-owned businesses, American industry and agriculture, and the American spirit of independence.

A House of Representatives resolution, H.R. 1297, was introduced on April 22 to recognize and support the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week. The complete text of H.R. 1297 is provided below.

111TH CONGRESS
2D SESSION H. RES. 1297
Supporting the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
APRIL 22, 2010

Whereas American Craft Beer Week is annually celebrated in breweries, restaurants, and beer stores by craft brewers and home brewers nationwide;

Whereas in 2010, American Craft Beer Week is celebrated from May 17 to May 23;

Whereas craft brewers operate smaller breweries, each producing less than 2,000,000 barrels per year, and produce high-quality beers using traditional brewing techniques;

Whereas more than 1,500 craft breweries are in business across the United States;

Whereas in 2009, 110 new breweries opened, creating jobs and improving economies in communities across the United States;

Whereas in 2009, American craft breweries produced more than 9,000,000 barrels of beer, which was 500,000 more barrels than in 2008;

Whereas American craft brewers export more than 1,300,000 gallons of beer abroad and are creating new markets and new international opportunities each year;

Whereas American craft brewers employ nearly 100,000 full and part-time workers and generate more than $3,000,000,000 in wages and benefits;

Whereas American craft brewers support American agriculture by purchasing barley, malt, and hops grown, processed, and distributed in the United States;

Whereas American craft brewers increase awareness of the differences in the flavor, aroma, color, alcohol content, body, and other complex variables of beer, as well as historic brewing traditions dating back to colonial America;

Whereas American craft brewers champion the message of responsible enjoyment to their customers and work with their communities to prevent alcohol abuse and underage drinking;

Whereas American craft brewers are frequently involved in local communities through philanthropy, volunteerism, and sponsorship of community events;

Whereas craft brewing harnesses the innovative spirit of the United States, creating new and unique styles of beers that consistently win international quality and taste
awards;

and

Whereas increased Federal and State support of craft brewing is important to fostering growth of an American industry that creates jobs, greatly benefits the economy, and brings international accolades to American small businesses:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) supports the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week, as founded by the Brewers Asso4
ciation;

(2) recognizes the significant contributions of craft brewers to the economy of the United States; and

(3) encourages beer-lovers of the United States to celebrate American Craft Beer Week through events at microbreweries, brewpubs, and beer stores across the United States to appreciate the accomplishments of craft brewers.