The first Lehigh Valley Beer Week kicks off today.
Dozens of regional bars, restaurants, brewers and beer distributors joined forces to create the celebration of suds that runs through Sunday.
Modeled after the successful Philadelphia Beer Week, which kicks off at the end of May this year, Lehigh Valley Beer Week was designed to draw attention to the craft beer industry, which organizers say is blossoming.
According to a Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee study released last month, more than 100 breweries opened in the state between 2001 and 2011.
Between 2010 and 2011, Pennsylvania breweries' output grew from 3.6 million barrels to 4.3 million.
The study said that beer brewing in Pennsylvania has had a direct impact on the state's economy of more than $1 billion and that investment and employment in the industry are continuing to grow.
Jesse Albertson, general manager at the Allentown Brew Works, is one of the organizers of Beer Week.
He said it's due time that the area "celebrates the Lehigh Valley's big beer culture."
He said the week is a chance for all businesses involved in the Valley's craft brew industry to come together and highlight what they do.
Nima Hadian, owner of Shangy's, a beer wholesaler and retailer in Emmaus, which specializes in craft brews, is one of the founding organizers of Philly Beer Week.
He said he is helping to organize about 65 events at other distributors, bars and restaurants around the Lehigh Valley.
Those events are as simple as a featured craft beer of the day to "meet the brewer" events. There's even a cupcake and beer pairing at Jack Callaghan's Ale House in Allentown.
More information on participating venues and events can be found on the website www.lehighvalleybeerweek.com.
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