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Emily Hutto's picture

Ohio Brew Week Celebrates 10 Years

“If we’re gonna have a party, let’s do it for a week.”

That was Dan Gates said a decade ago when he founded one of the country’s first week-long celebrations of craft beer, Ohio Brew Week. He and the rest of the board of the independent restaurant association in Athens were looking for a way to showcase the town’s local brewers that brought visitors in the summertime.

“In these Appalachian hills where we live there aren’t a lot of jobs, so we have to be on the cutting edge of creating things to make a living,” says name, explaining the motivation for many of the region’s brewers— Thirsty Dog Brewing Co., Brew Kettle, and Buckeye Brewing, to name a few.

Gates worked with Jon Sparhawk, then owner of The Oak Room, to create the first Ohio Brew Week. The week’s events included homebrew demonstrations, beer-infused food at local restaurants, and special tappings at many of Athens’ taverns. The week was a huge success, gaining national media attention and attracting guests from across the country.

Few beer weeks have the rich history that 10 years in operation and passionate leaders like Gates, Sparhawk, and the current director Weston Lombard have brought to the country’s craft beer scene. You can read a very well-written account of Ohio Brew Week’s heritage here.

To-date, Ohio Brew Week is one of the most anticipated and one of the more educational beer weeks of the year. Its event list is unparalleled among other beer weeks, with a homebrew competition, a new brewers symposium, a cider and mead makers forum, and a street fair with live music and food trucks. Forty brewers plan to tap more than 250 beers this year, beginning on July 10.

Can’t Miss Ohio Brew Week Events

Monday, July 13: Keg Tapping Ceremony

Each year Ohio Brew Week features a keynote speaker who has had a significant impact on the state’s beer scene. This year’s keynote Patrick Conway, co-founder of Ohio’s first craft brewery Great Lakes Brewing Co., will lead a talk and tasting at this annual ceremony. More information here.

Friday, July 17: Brew BQ

Celebrate OBW in an outdoor beer garden that will take over The Athens Train Depot at West Union and Depot Street. The details.

Plan Your Ohio Beer Week

Find Ohio Brew Week’s event listings at