The State’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee has issued an interesting report analyzing the economic impact of the brewery industry in Pennsylvania. It’s a very comprehensive work with plenty of historical info and current data on the industry.
The report also has a clear explanation of the State’s convoluted brewing regulatory system, not an easy thing to diagram and explain. Most importantly, the authors make sound recommendations for legislative reform to “promote the growth of the brewery industry in this Commonwealth”.
Philadelphia has a rich brewing past, starting with William Penn, who founded the first brewery in Pennsylvania. Prior to Prohibition (1919-1933), the City had over 90 breweries. After Prohibition, only 15 remained and the downward trend continued into the 1980’s when the last two local breweries, Schmidt’s and Ortlieb’s, went out of business.
But, just when it seemed that the big national breweries would dominate the market, Philadelphia had a craft brewery revival, led by a PIDC client Dock Street Brewing. Another client, Yards Brewing, now has a successful brewery and bar on Delaware Avenue in Fishtown. Philadelphia Brewing Company, a very recent start-up, operates in an old industrial building in Kensington. VisitPhilly.com has a great list of all the craft brewers springing up in the City and the region.
The new report also has great things to say about Philly Beer Week, “a 10-day celebration of the ‘Best Beer-Drinking City in America.’ Established in 2008, it’s the largest beer celebration of its kind in America”. The event draws approximately 50,000 visitors and contributes over $16 Million to the local economy. This year’s event will be May 31st to June 9th (OK, that’s more than a week!).
You say you can’t wait until May to sample all these great craft beers? No problem! The Philly Craft Beer Festival at the Philadelphia Navy Yard will be on March 2nd. Now in its seventh year, the Craft Beer Festival is “a true craft beer tasting event featuring an incredible variety of beers from some of the best craft brewers in the country” .
Of course, the craft beers are great but there’s also great food, great company, and the unique historic setting of the Navy Yard in South Philadelphia. “Forbes Traveler” named it one of the top 10 Beer Festivals in the country. Don’t miss it!