In February of 2012, the California Senate declared February to be California Craft Beer Month. This was quite a big deal, and the holiday is sometimes overshadowed by the plethora of self-proclaimed beer holidays that seem to grow in number each year. As an advocate and fan of craft beer, I say the more holidays, the better! But California Craft Beer month is my favorite—and here’s why:
California Craft Beer month, first known as SCR 66, was placed before the Senate for official vote on February 23, 2012. The resolution listed several reasons why the state’s beer deserved such recognition.
- California became the birthplace of the craft beer movement in 1965, when Fritz Maytag took over the Anchor Brewing Company.
- California is home to the first microbrewery, opened by Jack McAuliffe of New Albion Ales in 1977. (Mendocino Brewing’s own history is a bit intertwined with New Albion, as well.)
- California is home to the second (Mendocino Brewing), third (Buffalo Bill’s) and fifth (Triple Rock) brewpubs opened in the U.S., thanks to Governor Jerry Brown’s vote to remove the restrictions on on-premise sales of beer.
- California’s craft beer industry contributes immensely to the state’s economy and jobs, produces more award-winning beers than any other state, and is a leader in the implementation of alternative energy and resource conservation.
The resolution passed unanimously, proving that even Republicans and Democrats can agree on good beer!
California is also the source of at least three unique beer styles:
- California Commons (Steam Beer) – Anchor Steam brewed the first known Steam Beer in 1896.
- Imperial (or Double) IPA – Vinne Cilurzo, now the brewer at Russian River, is credited with brewing the first Imperial IPA in 1994.
- American-Style Barleywine – Fritz Maytag of Anchor Brewing is credited with brewing the American-Style Barleywine.
California boasts more breweries than any other state, with last count at just over 600! In fact, the state produces so much beer that their export of craft beer exceeds the total production of most states! In 2104, California exported 1.3 million barrels of beer, which was a huge money-maker for the state’s economy.
Living in California, it’s very affirming to have an entire month dedicated to the craft of good beer. It’s also quite handy, since so many bars and breweries also celebrate throughout the month with special events and discounts on beer.
This site is one of the best for finding out about upcoming beer fests in the state, so you can keep the celebration going all year long!
A toast to brewers everywhere!
So raise a toast to California brewers, as well as the brewers all around the country who help to keep the craft alive!
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