Here come the Beer Fests!!!
Beer Festivals. A term that used to turn more heads than yelling out “Penis” in Church, seems to have lost its luster recently. Don’t get me wrong, I love beer fests as much as the next guy – probably more in fact. The problem is that the more of them you go to, the more they all seem to be the same. Unless you have deep pockets or can beg your way to a press pass to each Craft Beer Fest, you’re probably not going to make it out to each one. Beer Fest organizers are needing to get creative to make it worthwhile for attendees. I’ve looked at the lineup for this summer and once again we see a lot of the same with a few sprinkles of originality here and there.
As I have said before, the “if we build it they will come” attitude of the beer industry is no longer. Just like breweries have to bolster their marketing to move their beer more. So do Beer Fests. As consumers are getting smart about the beer they drink, they are also getting smart about the festivals they attend. People want value for their money now. Weird right? An open field with a bunch of beer they’ve already tried doesn’t cut it anymore. Festival organizers have to put on their thinking caps to make their festival the one you choose to go to this summer.
Let’s start from the beginning
- Get an open space
- Invite a bunch of breweries to pay to serve their beer in this open space
- Run a social media campaign to inform people
- Watch a bunch of drunken idiots trade wooden tokens for tiny glasses of beer
It’s a solid plan, but when there are 16 consecutive weekends with this same formula, there’s definitely no urgency to attend any certain one. At this point in the game, consumers get Beer Fests, there’s no education necessary. Festival organizers can’t get away with the same formula anymore. Now consumers want something more – something unique. People want an experience that they are not going to find at any of the other Beer Fest this summer.
There’s More to it!
The fault doesn’t solely lie on festival organizers. Breweries play a part in this game too. Many seem to grab random kegs of beer from their cooler, hook them up to a jockey-box and call it a day. For those who attend multiple festivals, there’s nothing new and therefore nothing exciting. This could be that many breweries feel obligated to attend every festival they can afford to and just can’t get enough beer made to stay original. Nevertheless – the people want something new, not something they can find on the shelf. At the very least, breweries should pick a beer that suits the weather.
Some Beer Fests that are doing things right though. Throughout the summer there are cask fests where every beer is unique and you don’t get to taste the beer if you aren’t there. There are fests within fests like at this year’s Vancouver Craft Beer Week… They have joined up with the Vancouver Mural Festival for an event to celebrate both two separate passions. There’s Beer Fests with music, Beer Fests with food, even style specific Beer Fests. These are the events worth attending. Festival organizers have shown a little more creativity to attract new crowds.
What do you think?
Enough about what I think, what Beer Fests do you attend? Why do you like them? Where are they? Let’s have a chat! Comment below or fire off a tweet to @thebeerrater