1st Annual National Belgian Beer Week Success Sets Stage For Future Growth

Industry Focus
1st Annual National Belgian Beer Week Success Sets Stage For Future Growth

1st Annual National Belgian Beer Week Success Sets Stage For Future Growth

The 1st Annual National Belgian Beer Week (NBBW), which took place July 14-21, debuted to resounding success.

America’s first ever all-Belgian brewery beer week saw strong physical attendance for its first year, bolstered by national media coverage leading up to the event. Digital engagement was very strong, with Untappd recording over 100,000 exclusive Belgian Beer Week badges unlocked and nearly 2 million discussing the week on social media.

“The U.S. Belgian Beer Week aims to garner appreciation for arguably the best brewers in the world,” said Steve Villani, President of Global Beer Network, a co-sponsor for the event. “These are the original, authentic craft brewers who started brewing beer generations ago for their village, and today export their brews to countries all over the world. One week of recognition for these pioneers in brewing is a long time coming here in the U.S.”

The strong attendance for the event’s first year was a very promising sign for the future of Belgian beer in America.

“Considering this was the first year of the week, the response was overwhelmingly positive for authentic Belgian-brewed beer,” says Lanny Hoff, Artisanal Imports SVP-Brands Manager. “Next year should be exponentially bigger as more retailers, suppliers and consumers join in to celebrate.”

The NBBW officially kicked off with the 7th annual North American Belgian Beer Fest (July 14-15) #NABBF in Westland, MI. This year’s festival saw nearly 1,000 attendees who sampled over 200 beers from 50+ Belgian breweries – the largest contingent of Belgian breweries in the event’s history.

“While these numbers are impressive,” says Roy Moore, manager of the event, “what truly sets the NABBF apart is the quality of its beers. All beers were exclusively Belgian – those not brewed within the country’s borders were not allowed. Most of the offerings were award-winning and considered “world class.”

Beer from esteemed Belgian producers included B.O.M. Brewery, Brouwerij Bosteels, Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste, Brasserie St-Feuillien, Brasserie Dupont, Brouwerij Boon, Brasserie Cantillon, Gueuzerie Tilquin, De Cam Geuzestekerij, Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck and the Belgian Trappist brewers (including some Westvleteren “under the table” for beer hunters.)


“The Belgian Beer Week was an amazing event, with awesome people and venues, and the world's best beers,” said Pierre Hensenne, Export Manager at Brasserie St-Feuillien. “It was a great chance to get to know our American friends and beer lovers.”

“The Belgian Beer Week was an amazing event, with awesome people and venues, and the world’s best beers,” said Pierre Hensenne, Export Manager at Brasserie St-Feuillien. “It was a great chance to get to know our American friends and beer lovers.”


Along with the quality of the beer, the NABBF is distinguished by the audience it attracts – discerning beer drinkers from coast to coast who care about what they drink and want to learn more about some of the world’s finest beers.

Information for the 2018 North American Belgian Beer Festival can be found at the event’s website, NABBF.org, which will include updates on the festival, ticket information, beer and brewery lists and event listings for the rest of the National Belgian Beer Week. While the date for next year’s festival has yet to be decided, it is expected to take place in September.

In addition to the kick-off festival, the National Belgian Beer Week saw 60 sanctioned events which took place across the country throughout the week, all featuring exclusively Belgian-brewed beer and supported by representatives from many of Belgium’s top breweries.

“The Belgian Beer Week was an amazing event, with awesome people and venues, and the world’s best beers,” said Pierre Hensenne, Export Manager at Brasserie St-Feuillien. “It was a great chance to get to know our American friends and beer lovers.”

Hensenne continued: “It was an absolute pleasure to have our Belgian Beers honored for a full week in the U.S. and see that, for many of the consumers, we’re considered one of the best in the world.”

Rounding out the week, close to 100 industry professionals attended the week’s trade finale, a reception-style event hosted at the Flanders Investment and Trade office in New York City. The capstone event, which took place on Thursday, July 20, presented a unique opportunity for beer professionals to connect with the owners and representatives from Belgium’s most esteemed breweries against a gorgeous backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.

The NBBW is a joint effort between co-hosts Flanders Trade & Investment and the nation’s top Belgian beer importers including Artisanal Imports, D&V International, Global Beer Network, Merchant du Vin, and the breweries they represent. With nearly 100 events executed nationwide, and bookended by two landmark events (NABBF to kick-off and the FIT tradeshow finale), the first annual National Belgian Beer Week was an all-around homerun.

Jesse Mogk, General Sales Manager at D&V International, sums up the week: “The Belgian beer experience is something that we, as importers, have always dreamed of being able to share with the American public. We are beyond excited that we were all able to partner together to bring the best of Belgium to America for the National Belgian Beer Week! If you have been to Brussels Beer Weekend, then you know that nothing like this has ever been done in the U.S. Santé!”

For more information on the NBBW and participating producers, retailers, restaurants, bars and distributors please contact Lanny Hoff at lanny.hoff@artisanalimports.com.

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