A Festive Shift: Why Beer Events Are Moving Beyond the One-Size-Fits-All Model

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Nov 17, 2017.

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  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Admin (16,842) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts
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  2. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,858) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota
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    There have been enough one-size fits all beer festivals that a big chunk of the population is pretty familiar with the various offerings and brewers. Finding something unique gets harder each year. You end up spending more time looking for something interesting and then waiting to get it than you do drinking. Standing in a field in the hot sun standing in line with a couple thousand of your best friends loses its allure after a few years. I, personally would welcome more focuses events that limit admissions.
     
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  3. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (886) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
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    A MUCH needed advancement, IMO.

    Across the country, Kenny Gould, editor in chief of online magazine Hop Culture, created the laser-focused Juicy Brews Beer Festival this October as an antidote to Pittsburgh’s large-bore beer bashes. It featured hazy IPA specialists including SingleCut, Triple Crossing, and Aslin, many of which had never distributed a drop to Pittsburgh. “It was important for us to provide our community with a really unique experience,” Gould says. Rarity combined with a buzzy beer style created irresistible catnip. “We sold every single ticket in under 10 seconds,” Gould says.

    And they certainly needed an antidote as the big ones tend to simply be ways for distributors to get rid of old beer. Though, there are fests like Juicy Brews that are leading the way for better fests here.
     
  4. Sweatshirt

    Sweatshirt Disciple (328) Jan 27, 2014 New Hampshire
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    I'll take a smaller fest with a smaller pour list all day. The wild friendship fest at Allagash was the fest that can never be topped for me and it was just that. Give an incredible pour list, don't overbook, provide a better experience, charge what you need to make it worth while.
     
  5. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,430) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    I agree with the premise of the article. I will go to talk beer with those who made it but not just to get sloshed. I can do that at home without searching for a parking spot.
     
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  6. HeilanCoo

    HeilanCoo Initiate (0) Sep 11, 2014 North Carolina
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    'Attendees could snack on duck-heart hot dogs while sipping blueberry sours and watching, say, Iggy Pop or Band of Horses bash away on stage. Beer doubled as entertainment, too, as Mikkeller live-brewed a beer that was spontaneously fermented on festival grounds.'

    I am sensing a ramp, a shark, and a vintage set of water skis.
    Not saying that a more personalized event is not appreciated, but shit guys. This is fucking silly.
     
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  7. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (8,449) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    When I got into craft two years ago, Sioux falls had a Fall indoor beerfest at the local convention center, and it attracted 50 brewers, and a few thousand attendees. It was OK, but there were a lot of folks there to get drunk, and it had a commercial convention feel. We attended the next year and it was a total bust, attendance was off and it was a downer. It was canceled this year when ticket sales fell off further.

    Also two years ago, friends and I attended a mid-winter fest at a local brewery/taproom. They had taken months to acquire over 50 great craft beers - many tap-only one-offs from local and regional brewers, but also some great beers from big craft brewers. It was a real cozy "homey" atmosphere for several hundred attendees. This fest is held twice per year (fall and winter), and we enjoyed attending the winter fest again last year. Making plans to attend again in February.

    At least around here, it seems that craft drinkers are into it for great beer in a friendly homey environment vs. a florescent-lit convention-center commercial event. I'd like to attend a regional outdoors fest sometime - perhaps that would also have more of a craft fest feel. To be a success, a craft fest - as noted in the article - needs to be carefully planned, and not just opened up to anyone. You have to ask if they are selling a craft event to further the industry, or is someone looking for profit off ticket sales for whatever they can sell tickets for.
     
  8. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (550) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Well. Unless the organizers take the time to do more than get a bunch of breweries showing up with the same couple of things they always bring. The festivals are going to get boring, and they have actually because it's too many breweries to drink through, and too much repetition for what's being offered during peak festival season where you are pouring at a festival in a location which is not in their customers base and which have zero strategic value from a marketing perspective.
     
  9. njk82

    njk82 Initiate (56) Dec 10, 2015 Virginia
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    Great article. Even some of the "premier" events (I'm looking at you, Savor) don't feel special or offer a great experience. I'm going mainly to specialized niche offerings at this point, and some breweries are putting on great, well-run events. Honestly I'm just not spending time or money on anything else anymore.
     
  10. teal

    teal Initiate (92) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    There's a saying in business "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" and I've found that the same for beer events I've attended.

    The best one I attended was small - put on by a local brewery. It had their stuff and they invited 3 or so home brew clubs out with their members' beers to be tasted with a very informal "I liked this beer best" voting system (style didn't really matter) and that CULTURE of good beer and good people beat the tar out of other events I've attended which was just a gathering of distributors and some breweries putting out samples.
     
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  11. Durge

    Durge Poo-Bah (2,838) May 22, 2007 Connecticut
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    When the craft beer wave first rolled in I enjoyed a few festivals here and there as a means of discovering new brewers and styles that were not quite so accessible yet at the time. But within a few short years these festivals just became obnoxious social events that seemed most suited to the young packs of partiers than to discriminating beer aficionados. Crowded and hectic demonstrations of alcohol more than anything. I quickly abandoned them in favor of simply seeking out the small breweries to taste and experience things first hand. Not always convenient but much more rewarding and educational. Talking to the brewers and their local customers and bringing home samples to share with friends for further discussion and enjoyment. I travel enough that it's an ongoing adventure and experience and I don't miss festivals in the least. High quality craft beer venues (stores, bars and brewers) have become so much more available locally that I don't need a special event for exposure. But I do see the new trends as a very positive movement and perhaps I'll catch one in the near future. Good article.
     
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  12. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,430) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
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    A 'beer fest' can be a hectic environment and I'd rather not try the patience of those involved. Frankly speaking I'd rather talk to the brewery folks at their brewery.
     
  13. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack Zealot (549) Mar 19, 2012 California

    I usually only go to one or two beer fests a year and rotate between FW, Sierra Nevada, and SF Beer Week. Agree with the comments on focusing on festivals put on by a brewery and on the smaller side. We always have a good time and try a lot of new beers. Also, it's a great opportunity to try different styles which you wouldn't normally try, along with breweries which aren't distributed in your area.
     
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