Mayor Annise Parker helped make the announcement at the George R. Brown Convention Center with a craft beer toast.
“People were laughing when I came up, said, ‘Mayor, you don’t drink.’ It’s not that I don’t drink. It’s that I don’t drink when I’m working and I’m always working. But I will make an exception today.”
“Here’s to great beer, cheers to Big Brew and thanks to all of you.”
The weeklong event will take place at the end of October and feature pub crawls, food and beer pairings, and craft beer tastings.
“Eight years ago or 10 years ago, you didn’t think of Houston as a food city. Now it’s one of the leading culinary, food cities in America. And that’s what’s happening in the craft beer. Three or four years ago, there were only two breweries. Now you’re at 12. By this time next year, you may be at 15 or 16. It’s exploding here, and we’re really leading the state in the growth.”
And Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the number of small, independently owned breweries. McDerby says that’s because of recent changes of laws and regulations regarding breweries in Texas.
“Festivals can now function at a level that they’re fun to go to, where in the past, because of the laws and regulations, you couldn’t, so Texas really lagged behind the rest of the country. Well, it’s a huge economically dynamic state that was out in the woods, you know. And all of a sudden the industry is exploding here, so the growth is going to be astronomical over the next 10 or 15 years, I’m sure.”
Sharon Coburn is with Fort Bend Brewing Company, which started operating in December 2012. She says the key to getting more people to drink craft beer is simple: Make them try it.
“Myself, four years ago, I didn’t know what a craft beer was. So, once you start drinking craft beer, you become a snob to other beers. I can no longer drink a macro beer. It tastes very tasteless to me.”
The Big Brew event will be a good opportunity for people to try craft beers. There will be samples of 1,000 different craft beers from across the country.
Mayor Parker says about 10,000 people are expected to attend Big Brew in October.
From left to right: Lisa Rydman with Spec’s, Clifton McDerby with Food & Vine Time Productions, Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Luther Villagomez with Houston First Corp.