The largest beer festival in the U.S. will not take place in-person in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For the first time in the festival’s nearly 40-year history, the Brewers Association (BA) has canceled the 2020 edition of Great American Beer Festival, which was slated to take place September 24-26, and will instead move the event “to an immersive online experience” from October 16-17.
As beer companies look to non-beer products such as hard seltzer to buoy their businesses, many are beginning to reimagine themselves as craft beverage companies. “If you can think as a beverage company, there’s so much more whitespace that you can play in,” CANarchy Craft Brewing Collective president Matt Fraser shared during Brewbound’s final Brew Talks meetup of 2019.
About 60,000 people attended last week’s Great American Beer Festival in Denver, but the 2019 edition of national trade group the Brewers Association’s (BA) largest consumer-facing event may mark the last in which beer is the only featured alcoholic beverage.
Dave Marliave of Flat Tail Brewing Co. was at the Great American Beer Festival when he learned his brewery had just won a gold medal. “I would say I was speechless,” Marliave recalled. “But the reaction was quite the opposite. I jumped out of my chair and tried to stop crying before I got to the stage.”
Tickets for the 2019 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) are still available a day after going on sale to the public, despite the event’s history of quick sell outs. The slowdown in ticket sales for the Brewers Association’s (BA) largest consumer-facing event of the year, which takes place October 3-5 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, comes as craft beer volume growth has slowed to single digits over the last four years.
In this week’s edition of Last Call: A study finds the economic impact of San Diego brewers exceeds $1 billion; the Brewers Association analyzes GABF winners; a price-fixing probe in India snares A-B InBev, Carlsberg and United Breweries; and more news from the week.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ presence at the 2018 Great American Beer Festival was merely an appetizer. The chicken wing restaurant, one of the largest chains in the U.S., will be regular menu item at numerous Brewers Association (BA) events over the next two years, including the 2019 GABF, the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) and Homebrew Con. Its presence at additional BA events is part of a three-year sponsorship agreement with the trade group, Buffalo Wild Wings beverage innovation manager Jason Murphy told Brewbound.
Want to stand out at the Great American Beer Festival? Open your checkbook. At the 2019 GABF, put on by industry trade group the Brewers Association, large activations from deep-pocketed corporations took center stage, drawing throngs of beer drinkers to sprawling setups that included TVs, bar games and live music while 800 breweries pouring 4,000 beers scrapped for attention inside the Denver Convention Center.
During Boston Beer Company’s annual Great American Beer Festival breakfast, founder Jim Koch unveiled a new series of Samuel Adams ads and announced a new grant program that will give $1 million to early stage food and beverage companies. Koch said the new series of folksy ads, which highlight hop selection in Germany for Samuel Adams’ flagship Boston Lager, focus on “craftsmanship” and “artisanal values.” The ads end with the tagline: “Brewed inefficiently since 1984.”
The Brewers Association (BA) announced a sponsorship deal earlier this week to feature a Buffalo Wild Wings branded pop-up sports bar on the floor of the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), its marquee tasting and judging event held annually in Denver. The partnership with the chicken wing chain, which was acquired last November by Arby’s for $2.9 billion, is the second major sponsorship deal for the late September festival. In early June, the BA announced that Pernod Ricard-owned Jameson would build a barrel-aged beer garden on the festival floor.