2016 was another great year for Indiana craft beer and the Brewers of Indiana Guild, the nonprofit trade association that supports and represents the industry. Let’s take a look back, and we’ll see what’s in store in 2017.
The Drink Indiana Beer app launches
At the beginning of the year, the Guild launched the Drink Indiana Beer app, the official guide to Indiana’s small breweries. In addition to detailed listings of all the breweries in the state, it offers turn-by-turn directions, special events, contests, and more.
The first DrinkIN magazine is published
We followed the launch of the app with DrinkIN magazine, the official guide to Indiana craft beer, available for free at breweries across the state. Check out the 2016 edition here, and subscribe to IN Brew News, the Guild’s monthly e-newsletter, for updates on the 2017 publication.
The IN Beer Brigade mobilizes
At the 21st Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival, the Guild launched the IN Beer Brigade, the first guild-led membership program of its kind in the country.
We worked with 3 Floyds to host the inaugural members-only collaboration brew day for Corn King IPA with Indiana’s northwestern breweries, then released the one-off beer at parties across the state in October.
Tremendous thanks to 3 Floyds for helping to mobilize the Brigade, and to 18th Street Brewery, Bare Hands Brewery, Summit City Brewerks, Sun King Brewery, Tomlinson Tap Room, Upland Brewing Co., New Albanian Brewing Co., and Tin Man Brewing Co. for hosting the Guild and IN Beer Brigadiers at the Corn King IPA release parties last October.
If you haven’t already, enlist in the IN Beer Brigade for access to this year’s collaboration with Sun King and Central Indiana breweries, followed in 2018 by a sour collaboration with Upland and South Central Indiana breweries.
Beer festivals provide crucial funding
Brewers of Indiana Guild festivals are the only beer fests in the state that directly support the Hoosier brewing community first and foremost, and we thank the thousands of revelers who attended the 8th Annual Winterfest, the 6th Annual Bloomington Craft Beer Festival, and the 21st Annual Indiana Microbrewers Festival in 2016.
Without the attendance of our member breweries and their fans, along with a network of dedicated sponsors like HopCat and affiliated businesses, the Brewers of Indiana Guild wouldn’t be able to continue supporting the fast-growing brewing industry.
Brewers of Indiana Guild festivals are also important fundraisers for our charity partners. Last year we donated more than $42,000 to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Joy’s House, and the Lotus Education & Arts Foundation.
We’ll continue giving back to Hoosier brewers and charities in 2017. The 9th Annual Brewers of Indiana Guild Winterfest is rapidly approaching on February 4, with 100 Indiana breweries–more than ever–lined up to pour in a bigger space than ever, the West Pavilion at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Early Bird tickets just sold out, with General Admission following quickly, as has happened the past several years.
The Guild is also adding a new festival in late 2017 in Broad Ripple, host to Indiana Microbrewers Festival for 19 years, and home of Broad Ripple Brewpub, the oldest brewery in the state. Stay tuned to the app and the IN Brew News email for updates.
We were also pleased to represent Indiana beer at a plethora of member-led events in 2016, including Lafayette Brewing Co.’s Winter Warmer, 3 Floyds Dark Lord Day, Taxman’s Death and Taxes Day, Beers Across the Wabash, Columbus Craft Brew Fest, Daredevil’s Hops & Flip-Flops, Sun King’s 7th anniversary party, Noble Order’s Beers, Blues, and BBQ, Big Lug Canteen’s Lugtoberfest, and more.
Last but not least, we represented Indiana beer in the Support Your Local Brewery pavilion at the Brewers Association’s Great American Beer Festival, one of the largest beer events in the world. For the third year in a row, the Guild brought some of Indiana’s best beers, including Corn King IPA, to share with craft connoisseurs, and Indiana breweries returned home with medals, including Zwanzigz Pizza & Brewing‘s gold medal for Small Brewpub & Brewer of the Year.
In 2017, check out our brand-new Do317-powered calendar for details on Indiana’s best beer events.
The Indiana Craft Brewers Conference continues to provide educational and networking opportunities
Brewers from across the state convened at the 2nd Annual Indiana Craft Brewers Conference in Fort Wayne last March.
With a keynote on quality from the Brewers Association’s esteemed Quality Ambassador, Dick Cantwell, and educational sessions on business operations and technical brewing, the conference saw more than 100 Hoosier brewers learning more about their trade while networking in an exclusive setting.
The 3rd Annual Indiana Craft Brewers Conference takes place this March in Indianapolis with even more educational and networking opportunities. Registration is available now for member breweries and business affiliates.
Gearing up for more legislative initiatives
After a successful slate of brewery-friendly legislation passed in 2015–such as working with 3 Floyds and Sun King to increase barrelage limits, making it possible for small brewers to sell more beer here–the Guild kept a low profile in 2016.
Look for news on our 2017 legislative initiatives soon. In the past, the Guild has been successful in consumer-friendly initiatives like Sunday growler sales and making it possible for Tomlinson Tap Room to sell growlers of Indiana-brewed beer, so if you’re interested in helping us support related efforts, make sure you opt in to legislative SMS messages in the Drink Indiana Beer app and stay tuned to IN Brew News to find out how you can help.
The Brewers of Indiana Guild is soon embarking upon a strategic planning session to help us focus our efforts and limited resources where they can help the rapidly growing craft beer industry the most.
Even with 135+ breweries in the state, there’s still plenty of room for growth. Many small towns that could host a neighborhood brewpub still don’t have a brewery nearby. On the flipside, there’s room for large, well-managed production breweries producing good beer. See our series on why local beer matters for more info.
In addition to helping local communities by providing jobs, tax revenue, charity, and a place to gather, the craft brewing industry makes it possible for its affiliated businesses to grow.
Higher education institutions are becoming more involved in helping us and our member breweries in many ways. Purdue is focusing on helping brewers with quality through its fermentation sciences program, and hops growers through its school of agriculture. Indiana University labs have helped brewers with local yeast, and IUPUI has held beer appreciation courses for years and is now branching out into brewery operations.
Last but not least, a network of local hops farmers, maltsters, and other ingredients providers is growing along with the number of breweries in the state, and as we saw in our Bicentenni-Ale program, brewers are keen on using local ingredients to craft some truly unique, local-centric beer.
It’s a great time to be a craft beer lover in Indiana, and we look forward to continuing to celebrate locally brew with you in 2017 and beyond. Cheers to local beer!
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