February/March 2003
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Still Crazy After All These Beers!

     A lot has happened in the 15 years that the Celebrator Beer News has been covering the good beer beat. Bret and Julie Nickels's inspired effort got us going at a time when there were only 20 breweries operating in California. The original quarter-fold tabloid, now the standard "brewspaper" format, chronicled the development of an industry still defining itself.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]A rash of openings in the mid-1990s and the Celebrator's expansion to the Northwest and Rocky Mountain states increased our page count and coverage. By 1996, the industry, like the brewing process itself, was at "a rolling boil" -- brewpubs and microbreweries were opening at a rate of several per week! The Celebrator had evolved into a magazine format with a four-color cover, better quality paper and a family of advertisers supporting our continued enhancements. Our mission remained the same: to bring the story of the good-beer movement to an ever-expanding readership, spreading what Michael Jackson called "beer culture."
A year later, the industry statistics as compiled by the Institute for Brewing Studies in Boulder, Colo., showed a marked cooling-off period. The 40-50 percent growth rate of the previous years had slowed to single-digit figures. Business writers decried the end of the microbrewing "fad."
Today we have more artesian breweries in America than the former champ, Germany. You can venture into brewpubs and restaurants across the country and find interesting local beers available. Big grocery stores and small mom-and-pop outlets have quality craft beer for sale throughout the country. And the Celebrator can now be found in every state as well.
The industry has reached a level of maturity and is sustained by an increasingly knowledgeable customer base that is aware of what constitutes a good beer. Our mission has changed from "cheerleader" for the good-beer movement and documenter of openings and closings to a journal of the good life that includes good beer, good food and places where both can be found.
We are fortunate indeed to be covering such an interesting and flavorful subject. And we owe our good fortune to our loyal readers who nurture us through their suggestions and subscriptions, along with the life-giving support of our advertisers. We are indebted to the support and counsel of industry leaders and are inspired by the hard work and dedication of the men and women who make the great beer we enjoy so much.
We are particularly grateful to our far-flung corps of beer writers who make each issue the thoughtful and compelling read we strive to create. We are blessed with the dedicated efforts of our beer news staff, including our resident "beer geek" Jay R. Brooks, G.M.; our ever-watchful guardian of the sanctity of the printed word, Copy Editor Pamela Evans; and the artistry of graphics guru Ken "Spig" Hickmott.
Ultimately, it's about the beer. So we give thanks to Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer. We've come a long way since her day, when people sat around communal earthenware pots drinking their beer through straws. But it's still the communal quality of beer shared with friends and family that fills our days with passion and makes the "job" of spreading the culture of great beer a labor of love.
Thanks for indulging us for 15 years. Shall we go for 15 more?

Copyright 2003, Celebrator No material herein may be reprinted without permission of the Celebrator Distributed On the W3 For personal, non-commercial enjoyment and use only. Cheers!

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