Sometimes it is easy to forget that craft beer is still just a teeny, tiny portion of the beer consumed in this country. While we sit here in Wisconsin surrounded by artists and artisans who specialize in creating masterpieces of water, hops, and malted barley there are millions of people put there who's only experience in the beer world is pale watered down slop. There are millions of people out there who actually consider the number of calories in their beer to be the most important factor when the choose there brew. Heck, I even once had a rep at a trade show look at me and proudly proclaim that I should try the beer she was pouring samples of because "it is the lightest beer in the world".
In Star Liquor's coolers about 90% of the shelf space is devoted to craft beer. That makes it easy to forget sometimes that craft beer still only accounts for about 5% of the total beer market here in the United States.
From Friday April 29th until Sunday May 8th it is the First Annual Madison Craft Beer Week. (Yes, that is 10 days but that makes for a much less catchy title.) Great beer will be highlighted all over Madison. At restaurants, taverns, and great beer retailers Madison's burgeoning craft beer cultre will be on display in all its glory. There is an impressive list of events located here.
While I am sure we will all be out taking part and enjoying all of these great events I propose this is the time to take it one step further. It is time to spread the joy. Events like this give us the opportunity to convince one of those people who are drinking those sad excuses for beer that yes indeed there is more out there! If you know one (or many) of these people sit down with them, show them the list of events and choose somewhere to visit. There are so many things going on that there is bound to be something that interests them. The variety of Fish Fry events alone would make any Wisconsinite proud.
Your friends may be reluctant.
They may even fall back into their old bad habits when it comes to choosing beer but we all have to start somewhere. You may be the one who cracks that door that will open into a greater world of beer for your friend. You may be the one who inspires someone to utter the phrase "wow I really like IPA's" for the first time, or even "barrel aged beers are really good". Think of the pride you will feel when you spot your friend wearing a hoody from a craft brewer. So get out there. Grab that friend and turn them on to the exciting world of craft beer. They will be glad you did.
STAR LIQUOR EVENTS for Madison Craft Beer Week 2011:
Friday April 29th: FREE Central Waters Tasting 4pm-7pm
Saturday April 30th: FREE Goose Island Tasting 4pm-7pm
Sunday May 1st: GREAT TASTE OF THE MIDWEST tickets go on sale at NOON
Friday May 6th: FREE New Glarus Tasting 4pm-7pm
Saturday May 7th: FREE Founder's and Great Lakes Tasting 4pm-7pm