Celebrating Craft Beer at #CBC16

Photo Courtesy of Brewers Association

For those of you who were in Philadelphia last week for the annual Craft Brewers Conference, you’ll probably agree the event was a sight to behold. Over 13,000 industry members descended on the city, taking over the nightlife, city-life and massive convention center for an entire week. With a big jump in attendance since last year, the vibe and “feel” of the conference has changed dramatically. It’s been fascinating to watch this industry conference grow from when I attended the first gathering of commercial brewers in 1984. There were only about 30 of us in attendance. But the conference has grown and changed dramatically just in the last few years. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the CBC and if the growth in attendance will continue. The 2017 CBC will be held in Washington DC April 11-14 and Nashville in 2018.

During the general session at the event, Bart Watson and Paul Gatza presented their annual statistical update, which was “mixed news,” according to Bart. Sales volume was up 12 percent in 2015, down from 18 percent growth the two previous years. But this change is based on a bigger industry base and there are many signs the industry is still going and growing strong. The number of brewery openings continues to surge, with a total of 620 new breweries opening in 2015 and only 67 closings. Sixteen states now have 100 breweries of more. Plus, overall pricing was up 3.5 percent in 2015 (in off-premise sales), and IPA is still the number one style for beer drinkers, accounting for a whopping 26 percent of all sales.

The culminating event of the week was the bi-annual World Beer Cup. With nearly 6,600 Entries from 55 countries entering the competition, California stood out with a strong showing of well-crafted beers. Our breweries claimed 45 awards in the 96 judged categories. We also received the highest honor of the evening, claiming two Champion Brewery and Brewer Awards: best small brewery (Nobel Ale Works) and best large brewpub (Beachwood BBQ & Brewing). A full list of award winning breweries can be found here. Congratulations to all our winners and cheers to California craft beer!

-Tom McCormick,
Executive Director, CCBA