More and more women are getting involved in the craft beer scene. These ladies wear pink boots to symbolize the growing presence of women in the brewing industry. They aren’t just token women in the brew house. They are adding a new level of creativity, expertise, and flare to this savory industry.
Julia Herz is a name known to many in the craft beer industry. A major influence in this industry for several years, and I was happy to share a few of her thoughts
on craft beer last month.
|“Brewers Association is the national non profit|
trade association on behalf of the majority of
brewers in the United States.”
She is the craft beer program director of Boulder, CO based Brewers Association
and publisher of CraftBeer.Com
. When it comes to ladies rocking pink boots, Julia shines. A long-time homebrewer, she’s won several awards including bronze at the American Homebrewers Association competition in 2004 for her Old Ale. Julia’s toured well over a hundred breweries. Being a BJCP beer judge and Certified Cicerone® herself, she has also helped several people gain their certifications. Julia Herz is very passionate about craft beer, and is constantly on a journey to learn more. I had a few questions for her regarding the work of Brewer’s Association, how the craft beer industry is shifting, and the future of Colorado’s craft culture.
What is Brewers Association?
“Brewers Association is the national non profit trade association on behalf of the majority of brewers in the United States.” Brewer’s Association is involved in so many of the great cultivators of craft beer culture around the country. Organizer of SAVOR, Great American Beer Fest, World Beer Cup, Craft Brewers Conference, American Craft Beer Week, and publisher of craftbeer.com, Brewer’s Association is helping create a connection between beer enthusiasts and small independent American brewers. If you visit their website you will only begin to scratch the surface of everything they do for brewers. From business tools and information workshops to being a major resource for current government affairs, BA is helping build this rapidly growing industry.
What is CraftBeer.Com and what is your role in their work?
“CraftBeer.com was created on behalf of U.S. craft brewers to celebrate the best of American beer,” says Julia. She has a large role in CraftBeer.com, including writing several articles and mediating her very popular Craft Beer Muses blog.
This website was created by Brewers Association three years ago to fulfill a need to represent craft brewer’s “information and community in a conversation on the internet.” Their popularity and reader base is growing more and more every day. I was curious what people’s interests were with the growing industry. Julia said some of the most read posts include their beer school page, extensive catalog of cooking with beer recipes, and blog posts including Julia’s Craft Beer Muses
. “People want resources on how to learn more about craft beer.”
How is this more accessible information changing the industry?
The more beer drinkers learn about beer, the more they are choosing to support small, craft breweries. “Communication between brewers and their customers is giving independent craft brewers the traction and mojo that larger breweries don’t seem to have. The bigger you get as a brewery, it seems the trend is, that the harder it is for a beer lover to look at that brewery and say, ‘Who is the brewer behind my beers?'”
What do you think sets your home state’s craft beer culture apart?
“Every state is unique in having their own beer culture. Some states have more breweries than others. Colorado is definitely in the mix of being at the top right behind CA, OR, and WA. We’re talking about being a 200+ brewery state which is astronomical to think of, but yet that took 30 years.”
“Colorado is different that Brewers Association is based here. Colorado is different that Great American Beer Festival is based here. Also, Colorado is really starting to get an agricultural tie with malting companies and hop farms popping up.” Julia and I agreed that having this agricultural tie only helps further that connection beer drinkers feel towards the product they’re consuming. Just like with food, if people can point out who grew the products that went in to the beer all the way down to who made it, that “mojo” is extended.
How do you feel about so many breweries opening throughout Colorado and Colorado Springs, and how will it affect beer drinkers’ support of the industry?
“We want to see that. As an association we want to see that, as a beer lover I want to see that. Where there is more breweries, there’s more diversity and even better standards for quality because it gets harder and harder to compete. Here at Brewer’s Association we like to share the statistic that the majority of Americans live within ten miles of a brewery.”
“You definitely are thinking state or regional based when you talk about what which brewery’s beers you have on your radar to support and purchase, but not every neighborhood has a brewery. There’s room though for every neighborhood to have a brewery, as long as the brewery can make world class beers and the brewery can differentiate themselves and understand how to run a proper business. To me that is no different than saying, ‘Should every neighborhood have a restaurant?’ and, ‘Should another restaurant open up down the street from that other restaurant?'”
In 2014 Craft Brewers Conference
will be hosting its 31st year in Denver, the home of Great American Beer Festival. I asked Julia how the conference has grown over the years and what it means to have both major Brewers Association events in the same city.
“Our attendance keeps growing. No turning back now, we are now at convention center level for Craft Brewer’s Conference. That means that we have very large attendance. In 2012 we were a 5,000 person conference. This year we were at 6,500 people in attendance and had over 400 exhibitors. An astronomical increase in the size in just one year because several years prior to 2013 we kept selling out the conference on all levels. It is bigger and stronger every year because of an increasing amount of interest and we wanted to accommodate for that.”
“It’s going to be great [to have CBC and GABF in Denver]! It’s super nice to be at home. You won’t see two of our main events in the same city at all, so this is unique to Denver. I think this will give Colorado a great chance to acknowledge and increase our beer culture.”
Thanks to passionate people like Julia Herz, craft beer is growing on all levels. Readily accessible information, connections to the beer we drink, numbers of breweries, and interest in anything craft beer is exponentially multiplying.
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