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Notes From The Publisher
By Tom Dalldorf


The San Francisco Bay Area celebrates beer like no other region — with Beerapalooza! Now in its second year, this intensive beer appreciation orgy took place February 12–20 with a variety of events, tastings, dinners and festivals.

The beer story is getting out. During Beerapalooza, the San Francisco Chronicle put beer and cheese on the front page of its much-lauded Wine Page, suggesting to food and wine folks something that most of us have known for quite some time: Beer is better with cheese than wine is.

Also, the Association of Brewers in Boulder, Colo., released data from 2004 stating that America's craft brewers managed to sell 7 percent more beer in 2004, "making craft beer the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. beverage alcohol industry." That includes imports, big-guy beers (industrial light lagers), wine and spirits! People are catching on to "the affordable luxury" — craft beer. Locally or regionally made, with honest natural ingredients, richly flavored and offering a lot of pleasure in a single glass, craft beer is once again the darling of the adult beverage category.

As the industry gathers in April 2005 in Philadelphia, Pa., we are certain that spirits and expectations will be high for the continued growth and appreciation of craft beer.

As we enter our 18th year of publishing the Celebrator Beer News, we have seen timid initial experiment, grassroots expansion, rapid growth, mass-marketing weasels and an industry-wide "hitting of the wall," resulting in a few years of microscopic growth, grandiose failures and involuntary "consolidations." Ah, but as the old saying goes, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. We definitely are stronger!

The gathering in Philadelphia will be a meeting of visionaries and survivors. Companies founded on good beer will reap the benefits of acceptance by the fickle American consumer. Hanging on to this acceptance will be the challenge of the next 10 years. And, if we are to expand the craft-beer segment — doubling and tripling what we now enjoy — it will be because the message of good beer has been brought to the masses with the same passionate zeal that brought most of us to this beverage of choice many years ago.

This issue of the Celebrator offers a comprehensive review of Beerapalooza 2005, a curious story of a brewers exchange between BJ's in Southern California and Fuller's Brewery in London, more evidence that beer and only beer should be consumed with great cheese, a tour of the most exclusive and reclusive Trappist brewery in Belgium — Westvleteren, an insider's look at the great beer bars of Philadelphia and much more.

You, as a Celebrator reader, benefit from this information first and must pass it along to your less-than-informed friends and colleagues to further the interest of good beer. You are empowered — spread the word.

LETTERS | Our readers in their own write...

Dear Editor:

We have a new puppy in our family, only nine weeks old. While I was working in my office, the puppy was with me sniffing around and chewing on things, as puppies will do. My office has a small area where there are numerous items and publications on the floor.

The puppy had its choice of notebooks, magazines and newspapers to chew on, investigate or, as I quickly learned, pee on. After shouting at the dog for her untimely accident, I looked to see what paper it was she had peed on. I then saw it was none other than Celebrator Beer News. Not only did she pee on your paper, but she peed directly on your face on the editorial page.

I was wondering if this merits further looking into? Golden retrievers are known to be very intelligent dogs, and she chose to pee on your paper. Can you explain this peculiar selection of a publication for a puppy to relive itself on? I would also like to compliment you on being the most absorbent paper in the business. Absolutely true story!

Jack Babin
Co-Publisher, Ale Street News

Dear Jack:   What's blond AND intelligent? A golden retriever! And yours has great taste in potty training material. Don't yell at her — praise her for her choice and her aim. I'd rather be pissed on than pissed off. — Ed
Dear Editor:  

I just wanted to compliment you on your publication. Last week, a friend and I went out to Lagunitas Brewing Company and then hopped up to Hopland, where we purloined one of your mags. What an eye-opener. I was not aware of all the variety [of beer] in our own backyard.

I'm using your brew map to map out future travels. Perhaps you can post this map on your Web site? I remember when there were fewer than half a dozen pubs in the greater Bay Area. I work on-board the ferryboats on the San Francisco Bay. Perhaps someday I can help you arrange a Booze Cruise. Keep up the good work.

David G. Endom
Concord, Calif.

Dear David:   Booze Cruise? Hummmmm … we like it. And thanks for the kind words. When the Celebrator started in 1988, there were only 20 breweries in the whole state! Things have changed for the better, and you are helping to spread the word. — Ed.

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