Intro | Day 1 | Day 2
One of the new components of this year’s GABF was a focus on sustainability, both for the conference and for the brewing industry. GABF teamed up with Zero Hero, Ecosyste.ms, A1 Organics, and the Colorado Carbon Fund to take a number of steps to green the conference. Here are some highlights:
- Divert 70% of waste from landfill at this year’s GABF
- Offset 33.70 metric tons of CO2 emissions
- Disposable items at GABF will be recyclable or compostable. Water cups, plates and utensils are compostable. As always, the beer tasting glass is reusable.
- All glass and plastic bottles, cans, paper and cardboard will be recycled
- Comprehensive pre- and post-festival recycling program
- The use of styrofoam at food outlets in the event has been banned
- Bulk condiments will be used at concession areas
- All compost will be processed by A1 Organics, located in Platteville, CO. This is a permitted commercial composting facility and will mix GABF compost with other food waste, animal waste, yard waste and wood chips. Within 90 days this compost will become a rich soil amendment.
- GABF will be part of the Green Meetings Industry Council’s goal to divert one million tons of trash from the landfill
First, the GABF has spent its entire 30 years in Colorado; first in Boulder and later in Denver. This event has amazing potential to raise the visibility of craft beer nationwide and to generate millions of new customers and aficionados. Having the festival in Denver every year is like preaching to the converted. Denver is a place where craft beer is ubiquitous. Everyone drinks it and it is found in every restaurant and bar. I don’t have any city specific figures, but my guess is that while only about 6% of the beer consumed nationwide is craft beer, the figure is much closer to 30% for Denver as a city. I urge the Brewers Association to take this party on the road. It would do wonders for the industry.
Second, and this is related to the first issue in my mind, the GABF in Denver has increasingly become a drinking party. It got worse as the festival continued, but there were hordes of people there on every night that didn’t seem to care at all about craft beer. They had only one goal in mind, and that was to get trashed. Now, far be it for me to begrudge people a good time; however, I just don’t think it serves the craft beer industry to have a majority of attendees to its biggest festival getting plastered. Craft beer’s true advantage over mass produced beer is that it is not something you chug. It’s a fine food to be savored and appreciated. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have fun; I just think it was over the top at this year’s festival, and that was a sentiment I heard over and over. In fact, many of the brewers avoid the weekend days or stay away from the event entirely for this very reason. I think a lot of this could be solved by taking the event on the road, since I think one contributing factor is that a lot of Denverites are used to going to this event, and it has become an annual party for them.
Aside from those issues, this remains a great event. It’s the only time you are going to see that many breweries in one room and be able to try that much great beer. The food and beer pairing events were phenomenal, and the efforts at sustainability for the conference were inspiring. I do recommend going to at least one GABF in your life if you are at all interested in beer.
Last but not least, one of the purposes of the GABF is to have a competition for US brewers. This year that competition awarded 278 medals in 87 catagories. New York State produced three medalists and our sole Gold Medal winner was Ommegang for their Witte in the Belgian Witbier category. You can check out the full list of winners here.
Read Dave's other blog posts from GABF:
Intro | Day 1 | Day 2
Stay tuned for our last blog post about our experience at GABF tomorrow. For questions or comments about this blog post, please contact Andrew Gustafson or leave a comment. If you would like to follow this blog, subscribe to our RSS feed or sign up for the Urban Oyster email newsletter. All photos courtsey Dave Naczycz.