As we’re approaching the lazy days of summer, I’m sure many of you catch yourselves daydreaming here and there about kicking up your feet and enjoying your favorite food and beverages with family and friends. For the consuming public, it looks as though more and more are finding refreshment of the craft variety.

At the Brewers Association’s Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America (page 10) in April, Director Paul Gatza and staff economist Bart Watson presented the “State of the Industry” and noted that craft beer volume grew 18 percent last year, compared with a 2 percent decline in overall beer volume.

In order to support these beer volume numbers, craft brewers are adding the infrastructure and personnel that’s needed. Through its blog and Twitter account, Lagunitas Brewing Co. shared an image in mid-April about the progress of its TapRoom and Beer Sanctuary for its Chicago facility. The tweet noted an early May opening for the new facility, while a Crain’s Chicago Business blog “On Dining,” property of Crain Communications Inc., reported around the same timeframe that the craft brewer already had completed bottling its first batch of beer in the facility.

Wholesalers also are joining the mix. In addition to its partnership with Pabst Brewing Co. as well as a number of import companies, including Anheuser-Busch InBev’s import brands, Beverage Industry’s 2013 Wholesaler of the Year, Louis Glunz Beer Inc., works with a number of craft brewers to serve the Chicagoland area. The Lincolnwood, Ill.-based distributor played host to all of these partners at its annual Global Beer Expo in April. The event showcased a number of craft brewers including Temperance Beer Co., Evanston, Ill.’s first craft brewery; Anchor Brewing, which expanded distribution of its Anchor California Lager outside of California for the first time last year; gluten-free brewer New Planet Beer Co.; and many more. Brewers offered samples of their most popular beers as well as some new releases to retailers and foodservice operators that are looking to expand their craft and specialty beer portfolios.

And if you haven’t gotten enough on the craft beer front, Beverage Industry will host a webinar titled “Crafting growth: A look into the burgeoning craft beer market” on June 25 at 2 p.m. Eastern time. The webinar will feature insights from Richard Hurst of Information Resources Inc., Brian Mulvaney of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Andrew Tysler of Deschutes Brewery. Hurst will highlight the current state of the U.S. craft beer market, and Mulvaney will detail the economics craft breweries should consider when investing in infrastructure to meet consumer demands. Finally, Tysler will offer first-hand knowledge of how the Oregon brewer is handling its increasing demands. To register for the webinar, visit

 I hope to “see” you there!