The Brewers Association (BA)—the not-for-profit trade group representing America’s small and independent craft brewers—has concluded the 30th edition of the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) & BrewExpo America.
As the largest industry gathering, CBC brought together some 6,400 brewing professionals and approximately 440 exhibitors in the nation’s capital for conversation and collaboration about America’s ever-growing craft beer culture.
Three members of the brewing community were recognized and awarded for their dedication and service during the opening session.
Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewing: Peter Bouckaert of New Belgium Brewing Co. was honored with the Russell Schehrer Award for implementing the biggest barrel ageing operation in the country. Brewmaster for the past 10 years, Bouckaert makes all kinds of experimental beers, many of which are released under New Belgium’s “Lips of Faith” series. The award is given annually to honor Schehrer’s contributions to the brewing industry. Schehrer was a founding partner and original head brewer at Colorado’s first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Co.
Brewers Association Recognition Award: Art Larrance of Cascade Brewing/Raccoon Lodge & Brewpub received the Brewers Association Recognition Award for his innovative and award-winning beers. Larrance has been in the industry since the early 1980s and opened Cascade Brewing in 1998. Each year, BA members nominate candidates for this award and the BA Board of Directors votes to determine the most deserving brewer.
F.X. Matt Defense of the Industry Award: David Katleski, president of the New York State Craft Brewers Guild and owner of the Empire Brewing Co., received the F.X. Matt Award for his tireless efforts to make regulatory reform possible and change legislation. Katleski operates a small brewpub in Syracuse and is constantly working to help the local craft market. This past year, he had five major pieces of reform legislation passed in New York. The award is given in honor of a champion of small brewers, F.X. Matt, president of the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, New York from 1980-1989 and chairman from 1989-2001.
Other notable takeaways from this year’s CBC include:
Craft Brewers Hill Climb: A record 233 small and independent American brewery owners and brewers, representing 215 craft breweries and 46 states, climbed the steps of the United States Capitol. They met with Congressional staff to tell their success stories and discuss legislative issues of concern to the craft brewing industry.
Kim Jordan Keynote: New Belgium Brewing co-founder and CEO Kim Jordan welcomed attendees as this year’s keynote speaker. Jordan presented the keynote at CBC in New Orleans in 2003, where she famously called for craft brewers to aspire to reach 10 percent of all U.S. beer sales. A decade later, Jordan returned to discuss issues ranging from technical brewing considerations to the industry’s collective spirit and future.
Leadership Recognition Awards: The Honorable Peter DeFazio (D-OR) was presented the Brewers Association Achievement Award in appreciation of his five years of leadership in the House Small Brewers Caucus. DeFazio was recognized for his evergreen commitment to supporting America’s small and independent brewers and for his personal passion and enthusiasm for craft beer and homebrewing.
Sustainability Manuals: With increasing numbers of craft brewers prioritizing sustainability issues, the BA officially unveiled threenew manuals for craft brewers: BA Water and Wastewater: Treatment/Volume Reduction Manual; BA Solid Waste Reduction Manual; and BA Energy Usage, GHG Reduction, Efficiency and Load Management Manual. Each contains multiple levels of solutions for different size breweries and a toolbox including guidance, checklists and Excel-based tools.
New Records in Craft Beer Growth in the U.S. and Abroad: CBC also saw the BA release a full, extensive analysis of 2012 data on U.S. craft brewing growth. In a year when the total U.S. beer market grew by one percent, craft brewers saw a 15 percent rise in volume and a 17 percent increase in dollar growth, representing a total barrelage increase of almost 1.8 million. The BA also recently reported that the American craft brewing industry set new records for exports in 2012. Craft beer export volume increased by an astounding 72 percent compared to 2011, with a value estimated at $49.1 million. The full 2012 industry analysis will be published in the May/June 2013 issue of The New Brewer.
Next year’s conference will be held in Denver, CO from April 8-11, 2014, in conjunction with the 2014 World Beer Cup.