While in Colorado visiting agricultural events, sites and people, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), and in particular the Farm to Table Pavilion.
Escorted by Governor John Hickenlooper, the duo (pictured right) took some time to tour the festival and its support of the state's “liquid agriculture.” Hickenlooper and Vilsack enjoyed the Farm to Table Pavilion, sampling craft beers paired with foods designed and prepared by chefs from around the country.
During the visit, the Brewers Association Export Development Program (EDP) was also discussed. Vilsack said that when we think of exporting “real” product, we also need to consider the beer enthusiasts traveling from overseas visiting our country, spending foreign dollars, touring American breweries and visiting the GABF.
These are tangible benefits that U.S. exports contribute to increasing interest from consumers abroad with U.S. products. This is also what will help the Obama Administration reach its goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years.
The U.S. craft beer industry is already doing its part towards that initiative. U.S. craft beer exports rose 86 percent in 2011, and are up 686 percent since 2004 when the Export Development Program was created.
Secretary Vilsack stated to Brewers Association COO Bob Pease, that he was very impressed at how much the Brewers Association EDP has done with relatively little USDA funding.