Beer show on tap in Chicago

CHICAGO For the third year in a row, Chicago beverage systems is hosting "Beer Expo" in their West Side warehouse. They buy beers from around the world and then distribute them to outlets in Chicago. And that's who's here, the people who buy the beer you buy your beer from.

"You have your bartenders, bar owners, your liquor store managers, grocery stores, the chains ... anyone who makes a decision on what beers should be purchased for their establishment are here today," said Red Ashby, Chicago Beverage Systems.

The expo is filled with interesting domestic and international beers, about 250 of them, and interesting people who know their suds. People like Jim Koch. Twenty-four years ago he made the first batch of Sam Adams beer in his Boston kitchen. Now his glass floweth over.

"We've gotten all the way up to eight-tenths of 1 percent of the U.S. beer market. So we have gone all the way from being invisible all the way up to tiny," said Koch.

Guinness, from Ireland, has a much older story. It goes back to 1759 ... and still going strong.

"We serve a million pints a day," said Guinness representative Emma Hughes.

And Leinenkugels from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, goes back to 1867 when Jacob Leinenkugel began the business.

"Brewing his original lager for the thirsty lumberjacks in Chippewa Falls," said Dick Leinenkugel, great, great grandson of Jacob.

Beer is certainly not new. Historians say it goes back at least 8,000 years. So, in other words, cavemen were sitting around on a hot day saying, 'Man, I could really go for a cold beer."

"Yeah, beer may well be mankind's oldest beverage. In fact, before bread, they made beer," Koch said.

And to this day, for some, beer is the staff of life.

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