The business of craft beer is booming. And that means American Craft Beer Week 2012, which runs Monday through May 20, will be bigger than ever.
“While craft is booming everywhere, it’s especially true in South Florida,” according to John Linn, baron of beer happenings for Brown Distributing Co. in West Palm Beach.
While the nation’s craft brewing industry was up last year (13 percent by volume, 15 percent by dollars), its growth was puny in comparison with South Florida’s.
“Our Specialty Division sales (Palm Beach to Key West) were up 84 percent from 2010 to 2011,” says Linn.
Part of that growth can be seen and tasted daily at the Tequesta Brewing Co., where brewers Matt Webster and Fran Andrewlevich have been bubbling up daily batches without much respite. They’ll celebrate American Craft Beer Week (ACBW) in style with a special release of an Imperial Red Ale made with a hop from a central Washington farmer.
“Believe it or not, we are the only brewery in the country to use this hop. We were sworn into secrecy to not disclose the name, as it hasn’t been trademarked yet,” says Webster. “We will also release three various firkins, so stay tuned via Facebook.”
Mike Hawker, the head brewer at Due South in Boynton Beach, is due to launch his new 15,000-square-foot brewery Saturday with a grand opening party in the tasting room. He was hoping to have taps flowing a month ago, but the realities of starting a new brewery slowed things down a bit.
“While we would have loved to have been open sooner, there’s an upside to it. We’ve always looked at ACBW as a way to reach out to people who aren’t into craft beer,” he says. “It’s a focus for us and people in the industry and we like that attention, because we can hopefully get people who will transition to craft beer – and that builds up our community.”
There’s also a tap takeover scheduled at Havana Hideout on Monday, and the Delray Pub Crawl ending at Coffee District. And then on May 18, everybody’s going to Due South for a week-ending party.
The new head brewer at Brewzzi CityPlace, Reiny Knieriemen, has been so busy he admitted that ACBW has kind of sneaked up on him. But he’s pleased to announce half-price draft beers during the week to customers who mention American Craft Beer Week.
No matter where you live in Palm Beach County, there’s sure to be an ACBW event near you. So get out and celebrate the rising tide of the craft beer in the Sunshine State. As the guys from Tequesta Brewing say, it’s really all about you.
“It has been an amazing wave of craft beer here in the state of Florida, some would say a revolution,” says TBC’s Andrewlevich. “A revolution isn’t possible without the backing of the people. Thank you, Florida.”
For a list of Florida-area American Craft Beer Week events, check out www.pbpulse.com.