What The Hell Happened To Philly Beer Week?

Opinion piece written by Chadd Balbi, co-owner of Breweries In PA

As a Philly area native and craft beer fan I have been enjoying Philly Beer Week long before this whole Breweries In PA world existed. I remember clearing my schedule, jumping on their website and planning my week accordingly

But over the last few years the week has kind of gone away… but not really?

As a PA craft beer blogger, I pride myself on being somewhat in the know. Not completely, but at least have a vague idea of what’s going on in the industry. Philly Beer Week, however, is a complete mystery. The week used to be jammed full of events. From the exciting Opening Tap event to takeovers all over the city, international collaborations, and more. It was the shining jewel of craft beer weeks in Pennsylvania for the longest time.

In its heyday, Opening Tap was the place to be during Philly Beer Week

However, as you look at their social media presence over the last few years the week has essentially dissolved into just a hashtag. The official events calendar is minimal at best. The opening tap event has gone away. And instead of the organization planning events their social media pages suggest you ask your local establishment what they have planned and follow a hashtag to see what is going on. They are essentially saying “we have nothing official planned… but still go out and celebrate during this time period cause it’s always been Philly Beer Week this time of year”.

What’s happened with PBW has become very similar to what the final years of the Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week were before the Pittsburgh Brewers Guild took over. I don’t need to re-hash it, I wrote a whole piece on it here. But credit to the local guild for resurrecting the week-long celebration.

As of this writing, PBW has once again posted about their hashtag and going to find events on your own versus working on planning anything. As always, if a brewery is planning an event, we will document it. But the Beer Week as it was normally constructed is officially dead. With any luck the City Of Brotherly love can take a page from the Steel City and resurrect a once great week-long celebration of craft beer.

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