Craft beer event coming to Houston

HOUSTON - The craft beer industry has been exploding in recent years. It contributed $2.3 billion to the Texas economy in 2012, according to a study released in Dec. 2013 by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild.

To help the boom continue, Houston is hosting a craft beer destination event.

It will be known as The Big Brew Destination. The week-long event will showcase the booming craft beer industry with tastings, pub crawls and a 40 beer, 40 food pairing party.

Among several events, planners will be holding two grand tastings where people can sample 1,000 different beers.

"This would put us as one of the top, definitely one of the top beer festivals of its kind in America coming out of the box," said Clifton McDerby, Food & Vine Time Productions Co-founder.

Texas is the third fastest-growing state when it comes to the small, independently-owned breweries. The second fastest-growing brewery in the country is in Houston.

"We've been selling beer now for two and a half years. We have been growing very quickly," explained David Graham, Marketing & Promotions at Karbach Brewing Co. "The City of Houston has certainly been thirsty, and we thank them for that."

When they started in September 2011, Karbach Brewing Co. set a goal of selling 3,000 barrels. They doubled that goal by the end of the year.

Last year, they aimed to sell 6,000 barrels. This time they annihilated their goal by selling 19,000 barrels.

They can be found from College Station to Galveston and San Antonio. On Tuesday, they opened to the Austin market.

With their impressive growth, they are able to help the economy by opening jobs.

"The bigger impact is the craft brewers are growing so quickly that they are staffing up," explained Graham. "So craft brewers are hiring a lot of people and putting a lot of people to work."

The Big Brew is estimated to attract 10,000 people. Organizers are plugging 200 plus brewers from around the country will be in attendance.

"This festival is bigger than anything Houston has ever seen," explained Lisa Rydmen, Spec's Wine Spirits and Finer Foods. "We have brewers from all over the state, all over the county, that are going to be participating."

Karbach will be one of 12 local brewers that will be representing Houston at the Big Brew event in October.

Tickets for Big Brew go on sale February 17. Prices start at $45.

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