Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Indie craft consciousness in downtown New Albany on Saturday, September 22.

(Previously published at NA Confidential)

NABC’s contribution to the festivities of Louisville Craft Beer Week surely will strike some observers as atypical.

That’s because “typical” in craft beer is in desperate need of redefinition, and tilting at windmills like these is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

On Saturday, September 22, we’ll be breaking in Bank Street Brewhouse’s recently approved, (yet far from completed) former patio, called the WCTU Reading Room, and our new “biergarten,” known as Lloyd’s Landing. We’ll be pouring local and regional beers, ciders, meads and even some wines. We’ll be acting as the de facto adult beverage annex to the first-ever New Albany Indie Fest, and just for the fun of it, hosting a Kentucky bourbon tasting and dinner.

I’m calling it the Southern Indiana Craft Beer Showcase, but I might have simplified matters by omitting the word “beer.” It’s the main component, but not the only one. My ideological motivation is two-fold.

To make a point about what I view as overlapping circles of interest, from local to metro, from regional to national, and all the way to international.

To allow the people closest to me to experience tastes of what can be done by local producers and purveyors, not just of beer, but also of other libations that fuel my personal world.

I’ve always counseled event organizers to begin by tailoring their planned gatherings to those potential attendees closest in proximity, and only then widening the scope to entice those from a distance.

A good example is the renowned institution of the Beer Dinner. It has been my experience that the marvels of the “visiting” beer team alone generally will not sell the required number of seats. Rather, the regulars who already enjoy a chef’s menu and regimen invariably compose the biggest bloc of diners, and if they have a particular interest in the brewery or beers being paired, it serves to enhance a spark previously lit.

In like fashion, I want our Showcase event to be about this extended community, and to help explain the aspects of “buying local” that I personally believe are the most important: Shifting one’s personal discretionary spending from multinational to local, and while doing so, visualizing the way these circles touch.

Aeppeltroew ciders are made in Wisconsin, not Indiana. However, Starlight Distributors (owned by old friends) is located just up the Knobs from here. Indiana cideries and meaderies, like New Day, use local apples and honey whenever practicable. Regional winemakers buy grapes and juice from other places, but increasingly source their grapes from local and regional vineyards. Admittedly, barley isn’t grown hereabouts, although it could be. Someday, it might, especially after we conquer the next five percent.

And I want you to know that when you’re in Aurora, Bedford, Bloomington, Columbus or Nashville, there are breweries waiting to serve you (if you’re 21, of course) … that cider can be dry, and craft meads can be as variously costumed as craft beers … and that today’s Indiana wineries don’t restrict themselves to the sadly apocryphal sweet Manischewitz clones.

On Saturday, in addition to what I’m describing here, there’ll be booths, food, children’s activities and music out on Bank Street, courtesy of New Albany First and its Indie Fest.

There’ll also be all of downtown New Albany for roaming, and I wish you would roam it, because even though downtown always will be a work on progress and much remains to be done, more work’s already been done during the past five years than the quarter-century before – and this work has been undertaken almost exclusively by independent, small, local businesses.

These businesses are the real showcase on September 22. I’m choosing beer, cider, mead and wine to make my point about me, my business, and all the other indies. You can choose another platform, but the most important thing is the simplest: Make a choice.


Now, back to Louisville Craft Beer Week. The third edition begins this Friday, September 21, and runs through the 29th. At last count, more than 61 events had been registered, and there’ll be a special pull-out section detailing them to be found in Wednesday’s edition of LEO Weekly.

Online, my friends at is your conduit for LCBW events. Here’s the description of LCBW, 2012.

Louisville Craft Beer Week is a distinctively local celebration that seeks to educate and to raise awareness of the American Craft Beer Revolution at the local level, to showcase the incredible variety, dynamism, and expanding market presence of Craft Beer in Louisville, and to promote independent local establishments.

Louisville Craft Beer Week is a collaborative local mission. American Craft Brewing has re-established old traditions and created entirely new ones, and is closely tied to emerging ‘buy local’ principles. Local Craft Brewers are partners in the economic sense, perpetuating success by making the pie larger, and keeping money in our community.

Louisville Craft Beer Week is economic development. Craft Beer’s demographic is increasingly dynamic, but traditional patterns remain unchanged: youthful, college educated, well-traveled and affluent. The Internet is filled with urban revitalization success stories with a brewery as part of the scene, beginning with Governor John Hickenlooper’s Wynkoop Brewery in Lo-Do (Denver) in the 1980’s.

Louisville Craft Beer Week is all of us – brewers, wholesalers, package retailers, pubs, bars, and restaurants – but most importantly, Louisville Craft Beer Week is you – craft beer lovers living, working and playing right here in our city. Your patronage and enthusiasm makes it happen for all of us, and we thank you.

When you’re out and about during Louisville Craft Beer Week, always drink responsibly and whatever you do, don’t drive drunk.

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