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Michigan Brewers Garner Positive Attention at Annual Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago

It was a big week for Michigan breweries at the 2010 Craft Brewers Conference, held at the Chicago Sheraton Towers, April 7-10.

BREWERS ASSOCIATION RECOGNITION AWARD

Larry Bell – Founder and Owner of Bell’s Brewery, Inc. – in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was one of three industry leaders in the national brewing community recognized during the opening session of the Brewer’s Association’s annual Craft Brewers Conference this past weekend in Chicago. Bell was presented with the Brewers Association Recognition Award.

Bell started the Kalamazoo Brewing Company (now’s Bell’s Brewery, Inc.) in Kalamazoo, in 1985, the first craft brewery in the eastern half of the United States. His dedication to the industry includes serving as a former chair of the Brewers Association’s predecessor organization and acting as a driving force with current Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper for the creation of American Beer Month (which evolved into American Craft Beer Week).

“Larry is a leader in our industry known for his innovative beers and the passion he brings to craft brewing,” said Brewers Association Board of Directors Chair Nick Matt, CEO of Matt Brewing Company. Mountain West Brewery Supply’s David Edgar noted in documents supporting Bell’s nomination that “He is continually pushing the envelope with experimenting with different grains, different yeast strains and plenty of hops.”

To select a winner of the Brewers Association Recognition Award each year, members of the association nominate candidates and the Brewers Association Board of Directors votes to determine the winner.

This is the second time in the award’s 23 years that Michigan has taken the top honors; Fred Scheer from Frankenmuth Brewery received the award in 1994.

WORLD BEER CUP

The 2010 World Beer Cup eclipsed the record of the Brewers Association’s own Great American Beer Festival (GABF) to become the largest commercial competition ever. There were 3,308 entries judged in the 2009 GABF, compared to the 2010 World Beer Cup’s 3,330 entries judged. Brewers from six continents earned awards from an elite international panel of judges this week in the 2010 Brewers Association World Beer Cup – the world’s largest-ever commercial beer competition. The eighth bi-annual competition announced awards to brewers from 19 countries ranging from Australia and Italy to Iceland and Japan. This year, 642 breweries from 44 countries and 47 U.S. states vied for awards with 3,330 beers entered in 90 beer style categories.

Michigan snagged 11 individual awards, ranking among the top six states for total number of awards, behind heavy-hitting brewery states like California (40+), Oregon (14), Colorado (12) Illinois (12) and Washington (12). Founders Brewing Co., of Grand Rapids was honored in four categories, while Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. of Warren and Big Rock Chop House & Brewery of Birmingham each brought home gold medals. The breakdown of awards for Michigan includes:

Bastone Brewery, Royal Oak
• Silver: Saison du Bastone – Belgian- and French-Style Ale

Big Rock Chop House & Brewery, Birmingham
• Gold: Norm’s Raggedy-Ass IPA – American-Style India Pale Ale
• Silver: Bonnie’s Raggedy-Ass Imperial IPA – Imperial India Pale Ale

Detroit Beer Co., Detroit
• Silver: The Detroit Dwarf – German-Style Brown Ale/Düsseldorf-Style Altbier

Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids
• Silver: Founders Porter – Robust Porter
• Silver: Dirty Bastard – Strong Ale
• Silver: Centennial IPA American-Style India Pale Ale
• Bronze: Imperial Stout – American-Style Imperial Stout

Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Warren
• Gold: Fourth Dementia Olde Ale – Old Ale

Redwood Brewing Co., Flint
• Silver: Cream Stout – Sweet Stout

Short’s Brewing Co., Bellaire
• Bronze: Black Licorice Lager – Herb and Spice Beer or Chocolate Beer

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number or breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state. For more information, including a list of Michigan microbreweries and brewpubs, log on to www.michiganbrewersguild.org.

FOR CONFERENCE PHOTOS: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=407802&id=127215395079

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