Back in 2013, we founded the Columbus Craft Beer Alliance (then the Grandview Craft Beer Alliance) because we selfishly wanted more access to local beers and fun beer fests we enjoyed. Columbus’ burgeoning craft beer industry had not quite broken through to the mainstream yet. The largest beer fests in town frequently didn’t highlight, or even include, Columbus’ local breweries, and even if they had, many of these newer breweries did not have enough beer or manpower to participate. Many popular bars preferred national brands pushed by distributors to local, independent brands. Lots of thirsty Columbus beer drinkers had not yet heard of the city’s up-and-coming breweries and had never visited their taprooms. We saw an opportunity to help connect these promising young breweries with their audience.
We did our best to do our part. We held three High Gravity Hullabaloos and four Summer Sessions. We brought curious drinkers to 13 local breweries for monthly beer and donuts. We blogged about as many of our favorite taprooms as we could get to. We promoted innovative beer fests such as Brews Over Beats. We worked hard, and we like to think we did a pretty good job helping to introduce Central Ohio craft breweries to their ever-expanding audience.
But now it’s 2018 and Columbus has outgrown us. Breweries have vastly expanded their brewing capacities, staffs, and taprooms, and they don’t need us to promote them because they’re so much better at promoting themselves than we could ever be. If you’ve been to a Land-Grant party, a Hoof Hearted can release, or Seventh Son on pretty much any weekend night, for example, you’ll see that Columbus craft breweries have figured out how to get people in the doors. Beer drinkers have no problem whatsoever finding Columbus breweries, be they large or small, older or newer, in bars, on shelves, at festivals, and in their taprooms. The Ohio Craft Brewers Association does a fantastic job advocating for our local breweries. The Columbus Ale Trail and Columbus Brew Adventures have introduced countless beer novices to the entire range of Central Ohio breweries. Mainstream news organizations such as Columbus Business First and the Columbus Dispatch cover local craft beer regularly. We have nothing meaningful left to add because the job we set out to do five years ago is done. So we’re retiring.
We’re thankful for the friendships we’ve forged along the way with brewers, event attendees, and volunteers. We look forward to seeing you out around the city, having a pint with you, and toasting the amazing success of our local craft breweries. Cheers!
Laura, Jamie, and Doug,
The Columbus Craft Beer Alliance