Who's up for injecting some joy into the local beer world? Here at The Crafty Pint we sure are, so we've created Local Beer Day: a celebration of local beer from local brewers at the best local venues.
It's taking place on February 24, 2024 – the last Saturday of summer – and we're inviting all local breweries, bars, pubs, bottleshops and beer lovers to join us in making it the biggest celebration of Australian beer the country has ever seen.
The beer and hospo communities have been enduring tough times in recent years: fires, floods, pandemic lockdowns and, right now, extremely challenging economic conditions that have forced some out of business and many to the brink. And, while a big nationwide party isn't going to make all of those problems go away, it can spread a little happiness, bring people together, and show the wider world just how widespread, diverse and colourful the local beer industry has become over the past decade or two.
Any local beer business wanting to take part can host an event (or events if they operate multiple venues) via the Local Beer Day website from today. And, given how hard people are doing it right now, we're making it as low cost and easy to take part as possible.
We'll launch the full website in the second half of January, which will feature an interactive map showing every event taking place around Australia, as well as detailed listings for all of those events.
Our hope is to have hundreds of celebrations of local beer taking place in all parts of the country, encouraging people to reconnect with or discover for the first time all of the great locally-owned businesses in their communities, putting a smile onto the faces of the business owners and their staff who've been doing it tough in recent years, and making a noise about how wonderful and widespread the Aussie beer world is today.
If the lead-in to Christmas seems a weird time to announce such an ambitious endeavour, that's only because we only decided to do it a few weeks ago. Anyone who reads The Crafty Pint will have seen our articles reporting on and analysing the challenges faced by the local industry all through 2023, and it was while working on another of those that we realised we wanted to more to help.
Very quickly, it occurred to us we had a readymade solution. In 2014 and 2015, we'd run national events called Craft Beer Rising – celebrating local beer from local brewers at the best local venues – to shine a light on Aussie craft beer at a time when imports were hogging taps and fridge space across the country.
Then, in 2020, we launched the Keeping Local Alive campaign as the nationwide lockdown approached. The messaging for that campaign – The Future Of Local Beer – It's In Your Hands – still applies as strongly now, if not more so, which led us to put the two concepts together as Local Beer Day.
We're delighted to have the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) joining us to support Local Beer Day – you can find out how they're fighting the fight for indie brewers day in, day out at iba.org.au and find your nearest IBA brewery member via askforindiebeer.com.au.
For now, if you're an owner or employee of an Aussie beer business, we'd love you to register an event via the Local Beer Day website; there's discounts for Crafty Pint-listed businesses and IBA members too.
If you're a beer lover, mark February 24, 2024, in your diaries and prepare to get your friends and families involved. And if you've got ideas that can help us make this the biggest celebration of Aussie beer the world has seen, get in touch.