Beer Week taps into Kalamazoo


New Holland Brewing beers have been featured at Kalamazoo Beer Week. Photo via

A new year brings a new slate of craft beer celebrations.

First up is Kalamazoo Beer Week, which starts Saturday and will feature more than 80 events during the week. Next up is the Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival on Feb. 9.

Kalamazoo Beer Week

Kalamazoo will host beer dinners, free tastings, tap takeovers, bottle signings and more at restaurants, beer stores and breweries throughout the city. 

The week will start Saturday with a breakfast Founders Brewing Co.

Founders, Bells Brewery, Arcadia Brewing Co., Dark Horse Brewing, Arbor Brewing, Shorts Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing Co. and Brewery Vivant are featured several times each throughout the week.

The week is set up by Discover Kalamazoo and Imperial Beverage, which started the event following its honor as Craft Beer Distributor of the Year in 2010.

“We had just been recognized in this very public way for our efforts related to the craft beer market segment,” Imperial President Joe Cekola said. “We wanted to find a way to share our excitement with our hometown of Kalamazoo.”

In 2011, the week hosted 16 events, but it exploded in 2012 to include more than 100 events.

“Little did we know that in year two, we’d grow to nearly 110 events,” said Anne Drummond, Imperial Beverage marketing and PR manager. “Our fledgling event grew up, and we couldn’t have been more excited.”

This year, beer week media guides will have QR codes that will help visitors to access taxi phone numbers.

“After all, Kalamazoo Beer Week is about the appreciation of craft beer, not its abuse,” Drummond said.

Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival 

The fourth-annual festival on Feb. 9 will highlight the emerging craft beer scene in the northern part of the state. Both the Travel Channel and Draft Magazine have recognized the city as a craft beer destination.

The festival, along with the town's Craft Beer Week, is intended to introduce visitors and residents to the microbrew scene, said festival promoter Sam Porter.

“Our goal is to have another sold-out festival and help drive thousands of residents and visitors to downtown retailers, bars and restaurants during an otherwise slow week in February,” Porter said.

The festival will feature heated tents from 4-10 p.m. with more than 50 breweries from across the state. It’s the keystone event of Traverse City’s Craft Beer Week. A shuttle will run from the Old Town parking deck and hotel partners.

The proceeds from the event will go to Bay Area Recycling for Charities, a local nonprofit recycling service.

West Michigan bands Funktion, Deliliah DeWylde and the Lost Boys and The Crane Wives are among the music acts at the festival.

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