9th annual Baltimore Beer Week kicks off, with consumer interest 'at an all-time high'

Baltimore Beer Week has always lasted longer than a week. But organizer Joe Gold rounded down because “week” sounds much better than “Baltimore Beer 10 Days” – and 10 days is the length of time necessary to encompass two full weekends of events.

The annual festival kicks off its ninth year Friday and runs through Oct. 22. This time around, it’s bookended by two busy weekends: the Ravens host the Chicago Bears Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, and the Baltimore Running Festival takes over much of the city for several morning hours Oct. 21.

For Beer Week organizers, competing for attention when so much else is going on can be difficult.

“Those two weekends make it very challenging to pull beer week events together,” Gold, a sales manager for Heavy Seas Beer, said.

But he’s noticed more public interest in this year’s festival than ever before, based on visits to the event’s website and social media hits.

While consumer interest is “at an all-time high,” the actual number of events and participating venues is down since the festival premiered, Gold said. This year is the first that Beer Week organizers changed their pricing structure, reducing the cost for some venues to participate.

“In the past, there seemed to be more retailers and suppliers interested in participating and they paid the going rate,” Gold said. “We felt this year a good idea would be to lower some of our rates to get more people at the retail level involved.”

Still, some venues said “it’s beer week for us all year now,” and chose not to participate, he said.

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