Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Craft Beer Rocks at the GABF

By William Brand
Friday, October 12th, 2007 at 9:02 am in Uncategorized.

DENVER _ GABF Colorado Blue BearThe Great American Beer Festival is SOLD OUT. This is the first time in the 26 years of the fest that it’s been sold out: 46,000-plus tickets, all gone. The place is jammed.

There are no tickets to be had. On a walk around the gigantic Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver, all I could find was potential scalpers looking for tickets. No one had any to sell.

What this tells me is that craft beer in America has reached critical mass. After three long decades, with some steep declines and big jumps, interest in craft beer is exploding, kind of like a nuclear reaction: We’ve achieved critical mass and there’s no way it’s ever going to reverse itself.

Americans have become sophisticated about beer, says Paul Gatza, dirctor of the Brewers Association which sponsors the GABF. When was the last time anyone asked you the difference between a lager and an ale, adds the association’s Julia Herz.
“In June craft beer sales earned 5 percent of all the money spent on beer,” Herz adds.

Craft beer sales _ while still just under 4 percent of all beer sold _ have grown 31.5 pecent in the last three years, Herz adds. In truth, I must point out, if one adds non-blah beer from major brewers like Coors and Anheuser-Busch, the percentage grows to well above 4 percent,.

Many craft brewers have had double digit sales increases, Herz adds. “People are talking about beer. Beer is part of our lives and we’re becoming more educated about it,” she says.

Amen to that. Craft beer rocks!

GABF Colorado Blue BearCaption: Even the Blue Bear outside the Colorado Convention Center in Denver looks like he (or she) wants to get into the GABF. But the big festival is sold out: 46,000 plus tickets:GONE.

Photo: William Brand

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