I love the growing trend of entire weeks devoted to celebrating local beer or at least beer in a specific place. This is a terrific trend that should be encouraged, and I say that not just because I’m involved with organizing SF Beer Week. With local beer scenes having their own unique personalities and dynamics, each has the potential of being an organic celebration that takes on as many forms as there are places willing to host one. And that means we’re moving away from the relative similarity of the beer festival to more imaginative, inventive and ultimately personal ways of presenting beer to the converted and unconverted alike. But I think the beer week concept, with its reliance on a diversity of events, has the greatest potential of introducing hordes of new people to craft beer who might otherwise not have attended a beer festival. With literally something for everyone, this seems like a great way to reach new people and introduce them to craft beer. The interest is definitely there, and these beer weeks provide an attractive venue.
As far as I can tell, there are now nearly a dozen “official” beer weeks and at least three more “unofficial” ones. And I also understand a Chicago Beer Week is being discussed. But there are, of course, 52 weeks in a year and so there’s plenty of room for more beer weeks and no reason we can’t fill up the year with beer celebrations. After all, every day is a good day for a beer.
- SF Beer Week (February 6-15, 2009)
- Philly Beer Week (March 6-15, 2009)
- Charlotte Beer Week (April 17-25, 2008**)
- CBC Week (unofficial*; April 19-25, 2009)
- Seattle Beer Week (May 7-17, 2009)
- American Craft Beer Week (May 12-18, 2008**)
- Beerden Week, Japan (May 25-31, 2008**)
- Indiana Beer Week (July 10-19, 2009)
- Ohio Brew Week (July 14-19, 2008)
- Portland Beer Week (unofficial*; July 23-26, 2009)
- New York Craft Beer Week (September 12-21, 2008**)
- GABF Week (unofficial*; September 21-27, 2009)
- Baltimore Beer Week (October 9-18, 2009)
- Syracuse Beer Week (November 2-8, 2008**)
If you know of a beer week that’s missing from this list, please drop me a line. Thanks.
There are also other types of beer weeks, more celebratory in nature, like holidays rather than a series of events. Here are the ones I’ve come across. Please drop me a line if you know of any others.
Weekly Beer Holidays
- 3rd Week of February: Community Pubs Week (UK; sponsored by CAMRA) [now retired]
- Last Week of February: National Pubs Week (UK; sponsored by CAMRA)
- 2nd Week of April: National Cask Week (UK)
- 3rd Week of August: Ranger Beer Week (Tulsa, Oklahoma)
- 2nd Week of December: Lager Beer Week
- 2nd Week of December: Organic Beer Week (UK)
* The three “unofficial” weeks are during other beer events that last nearly a week. The main events spawn side events that rival the primary reason people go to these festivals or conferences. So in that sense, they become beer weeks all their own, even though they’re not organized as such. These are often more for the trade, that is people with some involvement in the beer industry. This also makes them bad weeks for a community beer week to take place, because too many brewers and media would be unable to attend, so I think it’s good to block them out for that reason, as well, at least in terms of planning other beer weeks.
** 2009 dates have not yet been announced.
Note: The top graphic was adapted from the New York Craft Beer Week logo. I hope they won’t mind.