To Fest, or Not to Fest

That is the question. Or is it the answer? This blog has been a champion of beer festivals, being one of the rare sites to give both pre- and post-event publicity to numerous festivals. We treat the events as news stories; we post event pictures, we name the winners of the People’s Choice Awards. To what end?

entranceOrganizers of these events seem to be mostly interested in selling tickets. Once the event ends, it is if they vaporized, like any kind of beer related taste in a Budweiser. So much for covering the event as a news story. Several days later you might, after some persistence, see a Tweet from a brewer showing off the plaque/certificate/trophy they won by virtue of token/ticket counts or ballots counted. Rarely do you see a press release, or response to your email inquiry, about how many people attended, comments from people who were there, favorite beers sampled, information about first-time breweries, etc., from the event organizer.

Once upon a time there were just a few festivals. Of course at that time there were just a few breweries. Now, there is a festival (or two or three) nearly every weekend somewhere, tap tCapture4akeovers during the week, and somebody’s first, fifth, or twentieth anniversary. There is a brewery or two, or nine, in many small towns and neighborhoods. Need a fund-raiser for your organization? Have a beer festival. Or, what the hey, a Beer Week!

Many brag about how many brewers will be there. “Hundreds of different beers to sample.” It takes about two of these festivals to realize that you are going to only be able to have about 10 of these and leave the facility upright. Although, from my observations at some of these recent events, that definitely was not a concern for several basically horizontal folks who gleefully asked their designated driver to wheel them out as they gulped down yet another Triple IPA.

prositAnd the price tag for these events just keeps going up, and up. The recent Beer and Bacon Classic charged More than $60 for basically two and a half hours of standing in one long line after another at Safeco Field. I can buy a heck of a lot of beer at the local BevMo/Total Wine/Specialty Bottle Shop for what it costs to stand in line for more Manny’s, and Lucille. That is something else that has changed. More brewers are canning and bottling their creations, and pubs, heck, even convenience stores, have fresh craft beer on tap. If you want to try something “new” you’ll head to the newest nano.

Still, HTBN will continue to go to festivals, take pictures and enjoy the experience by posting them on this blog. It’s what we do. And it’s fun.

Bob Shoemaker

Grew up in Renton, WA. Writer. Photographer. Homebrewer. Woodworker. Beer lover. UW grad. - 14 years in Marketing and Advertising communications - 16 years in technical product support, quality, loyalty, support analyst - 12 years as communications business owner