Plans for Illinois Craft Beer Week 2023 are starting to emerge, and the Guild is switching things up a bit this year. Not content to rest on last year’s changes — moving Beer Under Glass to Union Station — they’ve opted to close out the week with BUG instead of having it serve as a kickoff event.
I like the idea of working to the second-best Chicago beer festival of the year as the climax of the week. In previous years the week’s events were sandwiched between BUG and another more neighborhood-focused festival (the events in Winnemac Park were awesome) but since then the annual celebration of the state’s craft beer producers has been slowly regressing to the mean.
Utilizing the Union Station location for BUG makes it much more accessible for folks in the ‘burbs to hop a Metra and be part of the fun without needing to drive anywhere or hustle for El transfers (though, in the case of the Garfield Park Conservatory, the trek was always worth it). I hope the VIP ticketholders can fight their way through whatever office workers are still escaping the Loop for home at the 4:30 kickoff hour on Friday, May 26th.
See below for more info on a new beer/bourbon festival, a Day of Giving, a Day of Action, Small Brewery Sunday, and other efforts set up by the guild. Got any non-guild events coming for Illinois Craft Beer Week 2023 that we should know about? Send us an email and we’ll try to drop them a mention in our weekly beer news email. And check out all our past Beer Under Glass content while you’re at it.
Press release follows:
Illinois Craft Beer Week takes flight May 19-26 with dynamic lineup of festivals, events, and opportunities for Illinoisans to experience and support Illinois’ craft beer community
Signature festivals, fundraisers, and advocacy days are just a few ways Illinois breweries will celebrate with the state’s craft beer enthusiasts during Illinois Craft Beer Week
CHICAGO, Ill., March 24, 2023 – The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, the nonprofit trade association representing the state’s craft breweries, today announced Illinois Craft Beer Week will return May 19-26 with a dynamic lineup of festivals, events, and activities to excite and engage craft beer enthusiasts across the state!
Hosted annually in May, Illinois Craft Beer Week is a celebration of the state’s craft beer community – the brewers, beertenders, partners, and enthusiasts whose persistent support has been instrumental to the industry’s growth and continued recovery. The theme of Illinois Craft Beer Week this year centers on the enduring impact Illinois breweries have on their communities, neighborhoods, and nonprofit partners and features unique, daily opportunities for fans to experience and support Illinois craft breweries and retailers.
“This year, we have curated a fantastic lineup of signature festivals, events, and opportunities to build support for our breweries, give back to our communities, and excite our craft beer fans from Chicago to Quincy,” said Ken Henricks, president of the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild’s Board of Directors. “Illinois Craft Beer Week has always been a celebration of what makes our industry so special: our members and the one-of-a-kind craft beer they produce here in Illinois. We’re excited to rally together and to make this week the most impactful celebration of Illinois beer yet!”
New this year, Illinois Craft Beer Week kicks off with ‘A Day of Giving’ as more than 100 Illinois breweries support the Will County Beer & Bourbon Festival. Hosted on Saturday, May 20 by the Will County Habitat for Humanity with support from the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, the Will County Beer & Bourbon Festival is an outdoor tasting event with hundreds of locally produced craft beers and bourbons, with all proceeds supporting Veteran Build programs in communities across Will County.
Beer Under Glass, the cornerstone festival and fundraiser, will mark the official close of Illinois Craft Beer Week for 2023. Hosted on May 26th where the State of Illinois meets the City of Chicago – under the glass at Chicago Union Station’s Great Hall – Beer Under Glass is a one-of-a-kind evening that pairs craft beer samples from more than 100 Illinois craft breweries with the history and architectural marvel of an iconic venue. Light refreshments will be available for purchase at the venue.
Now in its 13th year, Beer Under Glass offers attendees the opportunity to immerse themselves in Illinois’ craft beer scene, mingling with brewers and finding new craft favorites. The single tasting session runs 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with one-hour early entry for VIP ticketholders beginning at 4:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $50 and VIP tickets are $60, and current members of the Guild’s enthusiast program, ImBIBE, are eligible for a free VIP ticket upgrade with the purchase of a general admission ticket. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 31 at 10:00 a.m. CT.
Illinois Craft Beer Week also marks the return of the fan-favorite Summer Passport, a physical booklet to encourage craft beer fans to explore breweries across the state and document their adventures! From May 19-August 19, passport holders may collect Visa Stickers at participating breweries around Illinois; passport holders who collect 50 or more will be eligible for entry into a raffle for a gift card to a participating brewery. Passports will be available beginning May 19 at select breweries and are expected to go quickly. More information is available here.
Complementing the festival lineup, the Guild has developed a series of daily events to build momentum and support for craft breweries during Illinois Craft Beer Week. Small Brewery Sunday (5/21) will encourage fans to stock their beer fridges with an extra trip to the brewery, bottle shop, or craft beer bar, while the Pint Day Fundraiser (5/22) will serve up limited-edition glassware to help raise money for the Guild’s mission. A Day of Action (5/25) will mobilize our craft beer community as we advocate to modernize 1930s liquor laws that make it harder for Illinois breweries to open, operate, and grow. A full lineup of daily events can be found here.
“Illinois Craft Beer Week is a timely reminder of the deep and abiding impact that Illinois breweries have in their communities,” said Ray Stout, executive director for the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild. “From creating jobs to supporting local organizations and hosting fundraisers, craft breweries are so often cornerstones in their towns and neighborhoods. This week is our chance to flood our breweries, brewpubs, taprooms, and bottle shops with visits so they can continue brewing and selling great beer while giving so much back to their communities.”
For a full lineup of events and activities for Illinois Craft Beer Week, please visit www.illinoisbeer.org/icbw and follow along at @ILCraftBeerWeek on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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).