As craft beer enthusiasts across the country celebrate American Craft Beer Week, May 12 – 18, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) sponsored a beer pairing dinner for media at Brasserie Beck in Washington, D.C., to highlight independent beer distributors’ role in building beer brand and the abundant choice and variety they help make available in cities across the country.
NBWA Senior Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs Rebecca Spicer kicked off the event by explaining how brewers, distributors and retailers like Brasserie Beck work together to provide American consumers with an unparalleled selection of beer.
“With more than 13,000 labels of beer in the marketplace, there’s definitely something for every palette,” Spicer said.
NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser told attendees, “NBWA is proud of the role that independent beer distributors play to help the craft beer industry thrive. The tremendous growth in craft beer sales underscores the excitement of independent beer distributors in partnering with America’s craft brewers to help them reach a wide network of retailers and increase their value.”
According to 2013 data released by the Brewers Association (BA), craft brewers experienced an 18 percent growth in volume and represent 7.8 percent of the U.S. beer market volume, which is up from 6.5 percent just a year earlier. According to the BA, small and independent American brewers sold approximately 15.6 million barrels of beer in 2013, and craft beer has averaged nearly 11 percent growth each year over the past decade. The BA also reported that there were 2,822 breweries (including more than 1,200 brewpubs) operating in the U.S. in 2013, with 98 percent (2,768) being craft breweries. That number includes the more than 400 new breweries that opened for business in 2013 across the country.
Purser explained, “This success is due in large part to the effectiveness of the independent distribution system that allows access to market for brewers of all sizes and a state-based regulatory system that works to level the playing field between brewers, distributors and retailers. When it comes to market access, brewers have more routes to market than ever before. Thanks to thousands of different distribution channels, today’s marketplace offers an unparalleled number of styles, varieties and flavors of beer.”
Brasserie Beck’s Alex Quayle guided attendees through the beer pairings for each food course, describing how beer can highlight and enhance the flavors in a dish just like wine.
The beer and food pairings included a spinach salad paired with Bear Republic Racer 5 India Pale Ale, tuna tartare paired with Ommegang Hennepin, filet mignon paired with North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout and chocolate cake paired with Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter.
For beer pairing tips and information on cooking with beer, visit www.nbwa.org.