A good-sized crowd showed up Saturday night at Whole Foods Chandler to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Arizona Craft Beer Lovers, a Facebook group dedicated to promoting “the ever-growing craft brew scene here in Arizona.”
The setting was appropo: Group founder Isaiah Garfias came up with the idea of starting the group while sitting at the store’s craft beer bar a year earlier.
“I really got into craft beer while I was in law school in San Diego,” says the Mesa native (pictured at right handing out free swag Saturday). “James (Swann, Whole Foods’ beer specialist) was the first person to join.”
Garfias selected Swann and Brews Bros. contributor Justin Coleman (the second person to join) to be the administrators of the group, which is private but open to anyone interested in craft beer.
The group has grown to 600 members, who include professional brewers, home brewers, bar owners, beer reps, and lots of non-industry people who just want to learn more about craft beer.
Members share info on local beer events, review beers, post links to beer articles, and debate beer-related issues.
Garfias, meanwhile, isn’t sure how much longer he’ll be in the Valley. He’s passed the bar exam and is looking for a job, including a possible return to the military that could send him almost anywhere in the world.
At least he knows Arizona’s craft beer scene will be just a few clicks away.