A year ago, I posted this first announcement of Philly Beer Week. Now it's here. And it's a huge success already, before it even starts.
Not everything came together quite as planned. We're not doing a region-wide "simul-tap" to start things; but Mayor Michael Nutter will be tapping the ceremonial first keg at Don Russell's booklaunch/beerfest event tomorrow night: fantastic! The Philly Craft Beer Festival took place last weekend, and the scheduling of the other 'anchor' events worked out differently: but we do have the big Michael Jackson tribute tasting (and dinner), the Brewers Plate, and the Real Ale festival: big guns! We didn't get as many out-of-city brewers as we'd hoped for: but we got a lot. And obviously I'm not doing either of the beer tours...but I've got plenty of other stuff on my plate.
We have put together a week of events solely focused on beer, something no one else has done in the U.S. (the Germans have Oktoberfest, of course). In our first year, we have over 150 events. Philly Beer Week has been mentioned in press reports as far away as New Zealand. We got huge coverage in local press: a special beer issue in the Inky's Food section, and a massive pull-out section in tomorrow's Daily News that Don Russell tells me is the biggest since the 1993 Phillies, and the biggest non-sports pullout ever.
This idea has been huge for Philly beer. Next year will be even better.