Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The 2006 Great American Beer Festival Is Sold-Out: 31,100-plus

By William Brand
Saturday, September 30th, 2006 at 2:11 pm in Uncategorized.

I wandered out of the GABF last night and walked to Wynkoop, the brewpub founded by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper long before he was mayor.

The place was jammed and I wound up sitting at a table with six folks from Los Angeles, who fly out here every year just for the fest. They got here Friday, found out the festival is SOLD OUT! That’s right. They told me there are no more tickets. That means 30,000 people-plus, according to the organizers.

If that’s right, it’s still far from the largest American beer festival. The record belongs to the Oregon Brewer’s Festival, held at the end of July each year in Portland. Over four days, the crowd exceeded 55,000.
\But for the number of brewers represented and the number of beers on tap for punters, it’s by far the biggest, plus 1,600 beers, over 400 breweries represented.

In the crowd numbers game, the Great British Beer Festival drew 60,000 plus this year.

That’s nothing, of course, compared to Oktoberfest in Munich, which is expected to draw about 6 million this year. It lasts 18 days and ends October 3.

This all proves that good beer is on a roll, in the U.S. and in Europe. Sales in America (and I’m sure in Canada as well) are solid.

At a press event Saturday, the Brewers Association’s Ray Daniels said craft beer sales continue to grow. “We’re in our third consecutive year of really nice (sales) growth,” he said. “Sales were up 7 percent in 2004, up 9 percent in 2005 and in the first half of 2006, sales are up 11 percent,” Daniels said.

Hey. I’ll drink to that.

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