April 23, 2018
(As prepared for delivery)
Welcome to Villa Taverna. I am delighted to have you here in this beautiful residence to taste and enjoy 15 different American craft beers from Stone Brewing Co., Rogue Ales, and Founders Brewing. It is an honor for me to celebrate the value, ingenuity, and innovation that American craft beers bring to Italy.
We will taste world class ales and lagers from California, Oregon, and Michigan. All of these breweries have come a long way since opening. They have grown from being small microbreweries to becoming some of the largest craft breweries in the United States, employing thousands of people and supporting U.S. agriculture. Today, there are more than 6,000 microbreweries in the United States, generating more than $26 billion in sales.
In the past, American craft brewers took cues from Belgium, Britain, and Germany. Now, the industry has come full circle, and breweries worldwide are looking to the U.S. beer scene for inspiration. People now want the flavor of American hops, and they are drawn to breweries that are not afraid to experiment.
The U.S. Mission is committed to supporting American agriculture and helping our food and beverage companies succeed in Italy. We would like to see more Italian consumers choose American craft beers.
As you know, promoting U.S. exports is a top priority for the current administration. You have heard our President and others reiterate that point regularly. I am confident that our two countries will pursue free, fair, and reciprocal trade and economic relationships that are in our mutual interest.
U.S. imports of Italian agricultural and fish exports rose to $4.6 billion in 2017, while Italian imports of U.S. agricultural and fish exports were only $1.0 billion. As the Italian economy improves, I am hopeful that U.S. agricultural exporters will see more opportunities in Italy than ever before.
With that, I invite you to enjoy the fine American craft beers on offer. Our beer representatives are here to answer your questions, provide suggestions, and information, and guide you through our great American craft beer tasting. Enjoy!