I ask this question knowing that I will attend some of the events scheduled.
But consider, if you will, that question in the context of several factors. We currently have one true local (as in, within the confines of the greater Richmond metropolitan area) brewery. We were not able to keep the Shockoe Craft Beer Festival alive. We just hosted what was deemed by some to be a rather lackluster World Beer Festival this summer. And Richmond Beer Week is officially put on by only one distributor, with the aforementioned local brewery being tacked on late in the game.
Now, before I start to sound like the Merchant of Doom, I want to say that the lineup of events looks promising. There are some happenings that will appeal to everyone from the novice to the über-nerd. You can check them out at richmondbeerweek.com. Not only that, but Virginia brewers are being given a good opportunity to showcase their wares.
The schedule of events was released quite late, which was probably meant to increase the anticipation and keep people (and other distributors) guessing about what was coming. But the fact is, the other guys knew about it enough to set up their own events during that time frame. So now the consumers, who don’t normally associate the business of beer distribution with the brands they drink, are primarily supporting one distributor, if attending the officially sanctioned events publicized as part of RBW.
All that aside, is it deserved? Has a week-long celebration of beer in Richmond been earned by the suds-swilling citizens of central Virginia? I ask because I’m a terrible gauge of the enthusiasm for beer in the area. To be honest, it seems like locals are always up for a good time that involves a lot of alcohol, but is the support for craft beer really there?
Full disclosure: I work part-time for a beer importer whose beer is distributed by a company not responsible for Richmond Beer Week.