Congress Toasts American Craft Brewers

By Andy Sparhawk

If you thought that the last shreds of partisan cooperation disintegrated with Health Care Legislation than you’d be off as much as Phil Lempert’s comments on American brewers during the Olympics. Yesterday, members on both sides of the isle came together to recognize American Craft Beer Week (May 17-23) and small and independent craft brewers for their community citizenship, contribution to the American job market and, of course, for their passionate creation of fuller-flavored ales and lagers.

Representative Betsy Markey (CO) joined Small Brewers Caucus co-chairs Peter De Fazio (OR) and Denny Rehberg (MT) in recognizing the week along with 4 other representatives who co-sponsored the resolution. The resolution reads:

Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives supports the goals and ideals of American Craft Beer Week, as founded by the Brewers Association; recognizes the significant contributions of craft brewers to the economy of the United States; and encourages beer-lovers of the United States to celebrate American Craft Beer Week through events at microbreweries, brewpubs, and beer stores across the United States to appreciate the accomplishments of craft brewers.

Read the full ACBW Resolution

The resolution capped a week of craft beer news in the Capitol when President Obama scored a basket full of craft beer from the state of Maine. It seems the President has definitely upped his “beer cred” since the Beer Summit last summer. Also, the Small Brewers Caucus had their rescheduled meeting that included a tour of Cap City Brewing Co on the Hill.

Interestingly, American Craft Beer Week was first created after a resolution by congress in 2006. The celebration has steadily gained in momentum with the help of other regional beer weeks and even a feature on the Colbert Show in 2008. No word on whether Steven Colbert will recognize the week again, but if he’s willing I’d expect a few ACBW commemorative beers named after him for the shout out, maybe Colbert Kolsch, Steven’s Stein Beer, who knows?

American Craft Beer Week is May 17 – 23rd and there are over 100 breweries and bars already in the official event database that are planning to celebrate. Take the whole week off; tell your boss it’s sanctioned by Congress.

Andy Sparhawk, the Brewers Association's craft beer program coordinator, is a Certified Cicerone® and BJCP Beer Judge. He lives in Arvada, Colorado where he is a homebrewer and avid craft beer enthusiast. On occasion, Andy is inspired to write on his experiences with craft beer, and if they are not too ridiculous, you might see the results here on

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