Beer’s share of total alcohol servings in the U.S. fell below 50 percent in 2018 and as the category continues to cede occasions to wine and spirits, brewing industry leaders have been searching for ways to reclaim so-called “share of throat” from hard liquor and wine companies.
One way the Brewers Association believes beer can win back share is through events such as SAVOR, a food and beer pairing experience that attracts hundreds of brewers and consumers to Washington, D.C., annually.
During this past May’s SAVOR event, nearly 100 craft breweries poured more than 200 beers, all paired with a menu prepared by the BA’s executive chef Adam Dulye and his team of chefs from across the country.
“This is a concept that has been the provenance of the wine business for many years — which is where I come from,” Port City Brewing founder Bill Butcher told Brewbound. “But it’s great to see that beer is just as versatile and has just as many complex flavors and is just as fun to pair with these small dishes as any wine dinner that I’ve ever been involved in.”
For his part, National Beer Wholesalers Association chief economist Lester Jones added that SAVOR and similar gatherings show that beer is an option for more than just “Joe Sixpack” blue-collar occasions.
“This is an event that breaks that mold and takes it into something new,” he said.
The Brewbound team hit the 2019 SAVOR event to ask several brewery owners — including James Beard Award winners Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing Company — and other industry stakeholders how SAVOR and events like it help elevate the beer category. Interviewees also discussed additional ways brewers can elevate the beer drinking experience. Watch the videos below to hear their insights.