Fourth Annual Madison Craft Beer Week

May 2 through May 11 2014

Madison, Wisconsin

Welcome Letter

Welcome to Madison Craft Beer Week! You are embarking on a ten day celebration of craft beer here in Madison, Wisconsin.

Since the 1840's beer and lager has been a central part of the daily lives of people in Madison. The first commercial brewery in Wisconsin, Owens Brewery opened in Milwaukee in 1840. Shortly afterwards, in 1848, the first brewery in Madison began serving lager on the corner of Williamson and Blount. It was started by Frederick Adam Sprecher and was called, unsurprisingly, Sprecher Brewery. This Sprecher Brewery would later be named Breckheimer Brewery and would be purchased by Peter Fauerbach and become the famous Fauerbach Brewery. 1849 saw the first buildings of a brewery in Southwestern Wisconsin that would become Potosi Brewing Company still active today and participating in Madison Craft Beer Week. In 1852 a brewery called Hausmann's Capital Brewery opened at State and Gorham serving three beers: a pale, a pilsner, and an export. Hausmann's steam boilers, used for boiling wort for use in their beer, would power Madison's first streetlights in 1880.

By the turn of the century there were well over 200 breweries in the state. There was a brewery in virtually every modest-sized community in Wisconsin including more than 50 just in Madison and Milwaukee. Today, after its near death in the 1970s, there are approximately 125 breweries. While our brewers no longer power our streetlights, they are still central to our community. They offer gathering places and employment, they provide grain to our farmers, hops to our soap makers, and, of course, delicious beer to you. Our brewers provide an endlessly interesting combination of water, malted barley, and hops that is fermented with yeast. Some breweries add more: cocoa nibs, spruce, smoked wheat, blueberries, apricots, not to mention the scores of varieties of hops. Brewing is not just an industry, but it is an art of food and drink.

Madison Craft Beer Week is a celebration of the history, impact, and art of the breweries in this state and in this community. It is a celebration of the art of beer from all over world. Indeed,Madison Craft Beer Week is really a celebration for Madison itself - an endlessly diverse, artistic, and vibrant community. We invite you to roam the city and surroundings and explore the various ways in which people gather to discuss the issues important to them. Learn about our community, learn about brewing, and learn about each other. Craft beer is a community of interesting people and we invite to join our community.

Finally, a brief thank you to all of our sponsors that make this week possible. If you see any of them around town, thank them for us and enjoy a beer with them. They'll probably tell you a good story about their history, their art, and their impact here in Madison.

Madison Craft Beer Week
Jeff Glazer
Robyn Klinge
Bill Rogers

Don't drink and drive. Take the bus.
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