I’ve always said that one of the best things about beer festivals like Beer Under Glass is the opportunity to try beers from breweries that I’d rarely encounter in the wild. Not just beers from suburbs I don’t get to very often, but more importantly, breweries from downstate that often don’t get the attention of others closer to the Chicagoland area.
So with no Beer Under Glass or Craft Beer Week events this year, I’m excited to see the guild branching out and offering something of a virtual beer festival in a box with this Christmas In July fundraiser. 24 beers from 24 Illinois breweries and a daily virtual open house from two participating breweries? Sounds like fun.
We’re especially excited to try beers from participating downstate breweries including Cypress Grove, White Oak, Old Bakery Brewing Co., Triptych, and Tangled Roots — though with over 80 breweries participating, odds are that we’ll only get one of those beers in the case.
BUG and FoBAB provide the lions share of annual funding for the ICBG, and let’s be honest, FoBAB probably isn’t likely to take place this year either, though it pains us to say it. And if you’ve been a subscriber to our newsletter, you know how hard other states have had it when it comes to allowing breweries to sell direct and deliver their beer to consumers.
In comparison, Illinois brewers have had to jump through far fewer hurdles to get their beers in customers hands during the pandemic, saving them time and effort better spent keeping the lights on at their respective facilities. That doesn’t happen on accident.
Cases are $85, which is less than a VIP ticket to Beer Under Glass and you don’t have to run around like crazy to try all these beers before everyone else gets let in. They’re using a ticket system, so purchase here on June 12th.
Press release follows:
Illinois Craft Brewers Guild Launches Fundraiser Featuring Limited Edition Assorted Cases of Illinois Beer
Christmas in July: 24 Days of Illinois Beer helps raise critical funds amid ban on large festivals
CHICAGO, Ill., June 9, 2020 – The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, the nonprofit trade association representing Illinois’ independent craft breweries, today announced a new fundraiser to help generate funds amid continued uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 health pandemic.
Christmas in July: 24 Days of Illinois Beer is a fundraiser that puts a limited collection of Illinois-brewed craft beer from some of the state’s most exciting breweries together in one case – and into the hands of craft beer fans across Illinois.
ICBG will build and release a limited number of assorted cases of Illinois beer from more than 80 participating breweries, creating Christmas in July Variety Cases. Each variety case includes a random selection of 24 beers (12- and 16-ounce cans and bottles) brewed from Chicago to Central and Downstate Illinois – inviting fans to explore new brews and enjoy old favorites. All craft beer is donated from Illinois breweries, and the full list of participating breweries is available here.
Then, similar to an advent calendar, craft beer fans will be encouraged to enjoy one Illinois beer each day during Christmas in July, which runs July 8-31. And they won’t be drinking alone.
Every day during Christmas in July, two Illinois breweries will host virtual open houses on Facebook Live. Each brewery will put its own spin on their virtual open house, with activities ranging from beer tastings and brewery tours to brewer interviews and Q&As. Virtual open houses take place Monday to Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m. and Sundays at noon. A detailed calendar of events will be included with every Christmas in July Variety Case.
Like other nonprofits trade associations, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild has played an integral role in helping its member craft breweries navigate the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. In March, the Guild worked closely with the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and State of Illinois to temporarily allow the sale of to-go beer as well as delivery, which proved crucial to sustaining operations in hundreds of breweries.
The Guild remains a critical day-to-day resource for breweries, collecting and sharing best practices while it fulfills its mission to support local breweries. This month, the Guild is preparing to launch its first-ever fully virtual craft brewers conference, featuring technical workshops, educational seminars and panel discussions designed to strengthen the industry as a whole. But with a ban on festivals and large gatherings not likely to be lifted anytime soon, fundraising remains a growing concern.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support of our member breweries during a time when resources are in short supply and our work is more important than ever,” said Danielle D’Alessandro, executive director for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. “We’re excited to have so many breweries on board to help bring the variety of an Illinois craft beer festival to the homes of our fans and enthusiasts. Our hope is that Christmas in July brings our community together and creates a path to revenue that enables us to continue advocating for our breweries each and every day.”
Tickets for the Christmas in July Variety Cases and Virtual Open House Series are $85 plus processing, with 100 percent of the proceeds supporting the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. Tickets go on sale Friday June 12 at 10:00 AM, and quantities are limited, so people are encouraged to purchase their case early.
Christmas Variety Cases will be available for pickup at one of five brewery locations (Chicago, Western Suburbs, South Suburbs, Northwest Suburbs and Central Illinois) in early July.
For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/ICBG-Xmas-July.
About the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild
The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild (ICBG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the development and expansion of the craft beer industry in Illinois. Founded in 1997, ICBG focuses its efforts on member and consumer education, legislative and regulatory advocacy, and the promotion of its member craft breweries. Learn more at www.illinoisbeer.org and follow along on Facebook (Illinois Craft Brewers Guild), Twitter (@IllinoisBeer), and Instagram (@ILCraftBeer).