|(source: Brewer's Association)|
Regardless of all the statistics, there is definitely a feeling rippling through the community of a new era of craft beer. Hardly a week goes by without a specialty beer dinner hosted by some of the best restaurants in town. Firkins are being precariously propped up on the edges of bars all over town every other night. Newly opened businesses like the Bier Station and Brewlab are laying the groundwork (and doing the lobbying) for future innovative brewing ventures in the city. The number of beer festivals and competitions increases every year. Up until a couple of years ago, the KC Bier Meisters Competition was the only officially sanctioned homebrew competition in the area. In 2013, there were seven sanctioned competitions, including one of 11 sites in the country to host the preliminary judging for the National Homebrew Competition, which had nearly 8,000 entries. The number of entries in the KC Bier Meisters competition has grown steadily as well, from less than 300 entries in 2010, to nearly 500 entries in 2013.
Obviously we can't talk about the last year without mentioning the sale of Boulevard to Duvel. The deal with the devil is set to close today, after several months of working out merger documentation and license registration. While we're not too concerned about the quality of Boulevard's beer or their commitment to local interests suffering as a result, it definitely does signal a major change in the craft beer scene. Boulevard isn't the same local gem anymore, that's clear. But even if they really lose sight of their KC roots, there are plenty of other new locally owned, independently run breweries to choose from. Regardless of their ownership status or whether you love them or hate them, it's hard to overstate how much they've done for craft beer in KC. We wouldn't be where we are today without John McDonald.
|It sure is, VABC|
*Correction: Bourgmont Brewing is not officially licensed yet. They did begin serving their beers at events around town in 2013. We'll be looking forward to hearing more from them in the new year.