Mass Beer Week launches on Monday, and local company Craft’d is bringing its super popular Beers with the Brewers series to three area breweries: Battle Road Brewing in Maynard (4/24), Shovel Town Brewery in Bristol (4/25), and Beerworks right here in Boston (4/26).
The series lets residents get to know their local breweries and mingle with other beer-lovers. Brewers provide a guided tasting with educational tidbits about their beers, along with an inside, behind-the-scenes look at the work they do. Founder and CEO Christine Healy, who operates from her home base in #Southie, founded Craft’d in June 2017 and has been building momentum with Beers with the Brewers. The series has put on nearly 20 events so far and is grouped by county: Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, and launching Bristol this week.
Mass Beer Week, formerly Boston Beer Week, is now in its third year. Originally, Beer Advocate hosted the event, and in 2017 it began collaborating with the Mass Brewers Guild. Next year, the Guild will run the event entirely. Guild Executive Director Katie Stinchon says, “We’re hoping to drum up some great momentum for beer in Massachusetts. There are lots of nooks and crannies where people can take the ball and run with it.” Craft’d will donate $1 to the Guild when event attendees share the official event hashtags, #MassBeerWeek and #BeersWithTheBrewers, on social media.
Healy’s originally from Easton, so the Maynard event is particularly significant for her. “It’s exciting for this to be one of the bigger milestones the company has had at this point. To be launching this in my hometown brings it all full circle,” she says.
Craft’d takes advantage of a burgeoning local scene—“Craft breweries are really having a moment,” according to Healy—with a focus on the 150+ breweries in Massachusetts. Events are designed to appeal to the local community. In Boston, that often means a mix of tourists and Bostonians, but outside the city it’s a hyper-local presence. Residents come to find new appreciation for “their” brewery and learn more about others nearby. So, Craft’d lets the brewers and breweries customize the experience. “We want the unique personalities of the breweries to shine through,” she says.
Local Massachusetts breweries help provide new life and activity for neighborhoods, and (with help from Craft’d) aim not just to be a destination but also a community meeting-place. Breweries are apparently becoming the new coffee shops; Healy says she regularly sees patrons taking meetings and work remotely on their laptops. With that in mind, Beers with the Brewers often occur mid-week instead of Friday or Saturday so that visitors can have a quiet experience and the brewers can show off the physical space. Craft’d works with local sponsors to help build presence and awareness. Mass Bay Credit Union is the presenting sponsor for the Suffolk county series, and they’ll be at Beerworks this Thursday.
Healy’s wanted to do event planning since she was young. She studied events and marketing at George Washington University and worked as a regional and national event planner for AmericanInno. Breweries caught her eye as she worked with startups on their events: “People want an experience,” she says. “I thought breweries were the coolest, most unique spaces to host an event.” Usually, brewers operate with small teams, so she consults with them and helps amplify their presence.
Now that Craft’d is nearly a year old, Healy hopes to bring Craft’d events to distilleries, cideries, and wineries locally and expand the Craft’d experience beyond Massachusetts. This is a field that will only expand and grow in the next few years, she says. “I think there’s a lot more to come.”