The state of Michigan is very proud of their craft breweries, but during the Saturday afternoon session of this past Great American Beer Festival (GABF), residents of the Great Lakes State had another accolade to celebrate, they boast the nation’s Craft Distributor of the Year.
Imperial Beverage of Kalamazoo was honored with the award which is announced during the Awards ceremony of the GABF, is presented jointly by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Brewers Association (BA). The award that has been given out for four years has become quite an honor for members of the 2nd tier who take pride in their craft beer accounts and work to educate consumers on their many styles and the importance of quality.
Imperial’s Owner and President remarked in the company’s press release, “We are incredibly proud of our level of support for Craft Beer. When describing our company to newcomers or positioning ourselves in the market, Craft Beer is the one device that is most crucial to describing our identity. We are innovative in how we train our team, particular about how we partner and assist our key craft accounts, and strive to ever-enhance our ongoing brewery relationships.”
Imperial Beverage represents many of Michigan’s most recognized craft brewers, as well as nationally recognized craft brewers. Cekola said that it meant a lot to be able to share the award with their friends and accounts. Many of those account had even more to cheer about as the breweries themselves won several awards including:
Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI – 2 Silver Medals (Category 10, Session Beer and Category 78, Old Ale/ Strong Ale)
Shorts Brewing (Bellaire, MI) – Gold Medal (Category 12, Experimental Beer)
Sierra Nevada (Chico, CA) – Gold (Category 11, Other Strong Beer) for their 30 Anniversary Beer and Silver (Category 12, Experimental)
Boston Beer (Boston, MA) – 2 Bronze Medals (Category 9, Specialty Honey Beer and Category 44, English Style India Pale Ale)