It’s Great American Beer Festival time again, beer lovers. And, Tapped Life hopes that you all got your tickets early. Really early. Like 5 seconds after they went on sale, because GABF sold out in record time again this year. It’s no wonder why tens of thousands of people wish to converge upon the Colorado Convention Center in Denver: tasting good beer and meeting good beer-drinking people. It’s all about supporting the craft culture, which as we’ve discussed, is a lifestyle, not just a choice of which 6-pack to buy at the liquor store.
Which brings us to SYLB, or, Support Your Local Brewery. There is a SYLB pavilion at GABF where you can support the breweries and the guilds that keep our beer independent. SYLB is a national, grassroots partnership of beer enthusiasts, brewers and professional trade associations dedicated to promoting and protecting the interests of America’s small and independent craft brewers.
According to SYLB, Craft brewers—which include brewpubs, microbreweries and regional craft breweries—face many challenges in their efforts to satiate our thirst for delicious beer. Access to markets; cost of raw materials and ingredients; and operating in a highly regulated and highly taxed industry are some of them. Drinking the beer that our brewers make is one way to support them, but it’s also important to be aware of what is going on locally, regionally and nationally that may affect their ability to brew. And, ultimately, may affect your ability to drink craft beer.
Eighteen state guilds will be at GABF at the SYLB pavilion, sharing their states’ missions—and beer—in order to create more awareness. SYLB believes that organized, active state brewers guilds are one of the most important means of protecting and promoting a state’s or region’s breweries. Whether promoting local beer or fighting for favorable laws and lower excise tax rates, the collective voice of a guild can speak louder than that of individual brewers alone.
Just like one customer at a bar cannot make a brewery successful, neither can one brewery shoulder the weight of advancing craft beer in a city or state. It takes a village to keep our breweries independent, and our pints full of beer that tastes good. SYLB is a national effort, but the idea is to make people think locally about protecting the resources available to them.
If you have the good fortune of attending GABF this year, visit SYLB. Consider becoming a Beer Activist so you can be on the front line of the craft brewery initiative in your state. You’ll get a beer passport and a “Protect Craft” koozie for your efforts. And, you’ll be able to taste the fine beer that those 18 guilds brought from their home states. The beer they serve won’t be available anywhere else at the festival. So have a taste and raise your glass to all of those that make GABF—and our craft lifestyle—possible.
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