Life is short … Drink good beer

Randy Wyrick

Special to the Daily

Craft Brewing Facts

Craft brewers currently provide an estimated 108,440 jobs in the U.S., including serving staff in brewpubs.

Growth of the craft brewing industry in 2012 was 15 percent by volume and 17 percent by dollars compared to growth in 2011 of 13 percent by volume and 15 percent by dollars.

Craft brewers sold an estimated 13,235,917 barrels of beer in 2012, up from 11,467,337 in 2011.

A barrel is 31 gallons.

The craft brewing sales share in 2012 was 6.5 percent by volume and 10.2 percent by dollars.

Craft brewer retail dollar value in 2012 was an estimated $10.2 billion, up from $8.7 billion in 2011.

As of March 18, 2013, the Brewers Association is aware of 409 brewery openings in 2012 (310 microbreweries and 99 brewpubs) and 43 brewery closings (18 microbreweries and 25 brewpubs).

2,347 craft breweries operated for some or all of 2012, comprised of 1,132 brewpubs, 1,118 microbreweries and 97 regional craft breweries.

Other U.S. brewing industry facts

Overall U.S. beer sales were up an estimated 0.9 percent by volume in 2012.

Imported beer sales were up 1 percent in 2012 and up 1 percent in 2011.

Overall U.S. beer sales were approximately 200,028,520 barrels and imported beer sales were 27,712,665 barrels in 2012.

2,403 total breweries operated for some or all of 2012, the highest total since the 1880s.

It’s American Craft Beer Week; a “big week for small breweries,” the week all true Americans face their favorite brew pub and pledge allegiance to the beer.

Beer-drinking true believers can even sign the American Craft Beer Week Manifesto, pledging their support to craft beer and the artisans who brew it. It’s not as binding as the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, but it’s tough to hold up a craft beer while you’re standing at attention with your hand over your heart.

“This isn’t one of those fake holidays. No, this is officially sanctioned by congress, as of 2006. Which in my book makes it the equal to the separation of church and state,” said comedian Steven Colbert.

The Vail Valley has three brewpubs: Crazy Mountain Brewery and the Gore Range Brewery in Edwards, and the Bonfire Brewery in Eagle.

Bonfire’s Andy Jessen and Matt Wirtz were roommates when they started brewing brew. Their other roommate moved out, but kept paying her rent, so they used her space to make some home brew.

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They started cranking out beer in their garage and got pretty good at it.

Andy asked Matt if he could make $500 worth of beer every month they could sell, so they wouldn’t have to have another roommate.

“Since then we’ve basically moved into a series of bigger garages,” Jessen said.

They’re on Second Street in Eagle, where the Viking garage used to be. Last November, they got their production facility cranked up on Chambers Avenue in Eagle.

They keep making more beer because beer lovers keep drinking it.

“From all the evidence, the pie keeps getting bigger,” Jessen said.

During Colorado Craft Beer Week in March they introduced a new beer every day.

“We’ve never had a real dud. Every beer is someone’s favorite beer,” Jessen said. “There are as many types of tastes as there are people out there.”

Good beer, good life

Over at the Crazy Mountain Brewery, the Selvys are spending the week reminding beer lovers that life is good and beer is too.

“It’s a week to celebrate American beer,” CEO Kevin Selvy said.

And you might learn something.

“This is America and we have the freedom to try new stuff,” co-owner Marisa Selvy said.

Through the summer they celebrate Muthafirkin Fridays, when they take one of their popular beers and basically plunk some fruit in the keg and leave it alone for a few days. It’s called a firkin for reasons we didn’t quite understand, but don’t really need to. All you need to know is that the beer is amazing and you should drink some.

At 5 p.m. Fridays – Muthafirkin Fridays – they pour that week’s beer and everyone is happy.

Jeremy Pluck is the Gore Range Brewery brewmaster. He and owner Pascal Coudouy have three new brews pretty much ready to go.

They love to try new things, but understand that you still have to dance with the one that brung you, as they say.

Among the favorites is their Lupulus Maximus, a double IPA.

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