For all craft beer lovers out there, there is good news and bad news. First the bad news: The Great American Beer Festival will not take place this year “in the form that beer fans know and love.”* This week on Beer Notes, we will be discussing the good news.
Innovation has been the hallmark of survival for many craft breweries through this COVID crisis. Take out and delivery is balancing, at least to some degree, the loss of distribution to bars and restaurants for many breweries. Gatherings of craft beer lovers have moved online, like the new “Think the Shore, Drink the Shore” happy hours every Tuesday at 7 pm on Shore Craft Beer’s social media pages, and everybody is well-versed in improving their appearance for Zoom events.
The Brewers Association just announced that the Great American Beer Festival will now be held online on October 16 and 17, a month after their usual gathering in Denver.
The event has elevated craft breweries since its inception in 1982. It started** as just part of the Homebrewers Association’s Annual Conference. It attracted 800 people and 24 breweries. In 2016, there were over 60,000 attendees and 780 breweries including many here on the Eastern Shore. Sam Adams Boston Lager*** made their ascension in the craft beer world with “Best Beer in America” wins in 1985 thru 1987 it launched their successful grassroots marketing strategy according to Jim McGinnis, a previous Sam Adams employee.
We don’t know what the festival will look like online yet, but we have heard it will be “an immersive online experience”.**** We are confident that the hallmark of the event, the brewery competition, will be just as vibrant and exciting as it has been historically. The Brewers Association announced that this year’s competition will include over 100 professional judges who will assess over 7,000 beer entries. Stay tuned to the GreatAmericanBeerFestival.com website for more details.