Congressional Caucus holds inaugural meeting

History was made last week as a new Congressional Caucus for America’s small brewers held its inaugural meeting Tuesday, May 15 in Washington, D.C. The timing of the inaugural meeting was ideal as it was held just prior to the official “American Craft Beer Week” reception held on Capitol Hill by the Brewers Association.

The House Small Brewers Caucus, co-chaired by U.S. Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) and Greg Walden (R-Oregon), is currently composed of 34 Members of Congress who share an interest in the issues of importance to America’s small brewers.

Brewers Association Board of Directors who were in Washington that day to participate in the American Craft Beer Week celebration, listened as Congressman Walden stated that the primary mission of the Caucus is to provide an interactive opportunity to learn about the dynamics of running a small business as a brewery, the brewing process itself and the quality and value of the beer and brewing activities.

Several other Congressmen also in attendance spoke briefly to the group, among them Congressman DeFazio who is himself a homebrewer and a primary sponsor and leader in the successful effort to pass House Resolution 753 of 2006 commending American craft brewers and recognizing the first American Craft Beer Week.

“The fact that Members of Congress recognize the unique place small brewers and craft beer have in our society, is extremely gratifying and important,” said Brewers Association President Charlie Papazian, also in attendance at the meeting. “There is a very real danger that the voice of the small members of the brewing community may not be heard over that of its larger brethren, so a group of legislators bound by a common interest in the history, tradition and excitement that are hallmarks of today’s small brewers, should help ensure our issues get fair consideration.”

For more information on the Caucus, please visit the official web site http://walden.house.gov/smallbrewers/pages/home.html.

Immediately following the Caucus meeting, the doors of the House Agriculture Committee Hearing Room were thrown open to welcome Members of Congress, Congressional staffers and specially invited guests to one of the most unique receptions in the nation’s capital.

Only in its second year, the American Craft Beer Week Reception is an extremely popular Capitol Hill event. With attendance close to double last year’s tally, it’s clear that craft beer’s popularity is on the rise on the Hill. Attendees are provided with a program of suggested beer and food pairings and are then free to explore the brewing landscape and follow their tastes in creating their own beer and food combinations. Twenty-three craft breweries provided beer for the reception, allowing attendees to choose between 19 distinct styles, all complementing a selection of artisan cheeses and chocolates on-hand.