Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate City Beer’
So You Wanna Throw a Beer Festival?
Things don’t always go right when you plan a Big Event – especially in Washington, D.C..
So I had an “interesting” conversation with the organizer of the inaugural DC Beer Festival a few months before the event. The Organizer was frankly quite cocky about his ability to fill up the event (which he did – pretty unbelievable for a first year event without using Groupon/LivingSocial!) and when I mentioned that he “might not be the first and only beer festival ever”
here in our fair city, he didn’t seem to hear my words..but what caught my attention more than anything was the date and the fact that this was pretty much an outdoor event at Nat’s Stadium..he said “and end of March is a good time, we can expect better weather..” – HA – he doesn’t know DC!! Originally meant to be a one day event on Saturday, March 23rd, 2013, the Organizer added Sunday because sales were so strong – One Problem – the weather – snow was predicted for Sunday evening and that meant cancellation of that evening’s session, the one I had planned on going to..Thus, photos of the Saturday evening event..
Doing Events in DC is Difficult – I spent 14 years organizing events here and I can tell you that it’s very tricky, especially pertaining to weather: rain, snow, hurricanes, you name it..oh, and let’s not forget post 9-11 Security..tough! I’ve been snowed out of a few events – the Israeli Embassy wine tasting comes to mind – and how do you cover your catering costs? I mean, I ordered $3,500 in food from a kosher caterer, do I expect them to keep the food? At the last second we both compromised and I paid them 50% – which probably covered their food costs and gave them a little extra. How about cancellation and refunds? Oh, and forgot to mention, that the freak snow storm that cancelled the Israeli Embassy event made it very difficult to confirm all the refunds..some people literally came to the event even though we tried every way to tell them it was cancelled..they ignored the blizzard, howling winds and impossible conditions!
Deciding when to limit ticket sales is the balance between profit and insanely crowded..As a promoter, I know how it is – you need to maximize profitability, but you need to consider the attendees experience. Overall, crowding is less desirable to attendees as they get older – they don’t want to be hassled, pushed, shoved or wait in line. The younger crowd actually desires “some” lines – just as in clubs/lounges, this suggests its the place to be!
Choosing the Right Beers Can Make a Statement-Everyone’s into local – Locavore, local beers, local chickens, on and on! DC Beer Festival had a very good mix of beers – Beer List DC Beer Festival. Unfortunately, I don’t have the Beer List, but there was a good selection of many craft beers – even Burley Oak, a relatively new craft beer from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The trick with Beer Festivals is to promote the local craft beers like DC Brau, Chocolate City and 3 Stars with some of the nationals like Sam Adams and Harpoon..the trick is to include the bigger names without making the event seem like a pure marketing play for Big Beer – it’s really a “craft” beer festival an organizer should go for..
Make sure there is sufficient food Not a problem for this event – many of the Concessions like Ben’s Chili Bowl were open and serving the perfect food for the conditions – chili cheese fries and dogs! Food Costs usually aren’t an issue for Beer Festivals – they simply don’t include them in the price – but normally beer is unlimited or significant amount of tastings. Each jurisdiction has different laws (for example, Virginia does NOT allow unlimited beer tastings at festivals for a fixed price, so people are normally purchasing sampling tickets). Of course, unlimited beer samplings can create drunkenness issues – especially with today’s high alcohol craft beers – so having a small sample glass, and actually some wait for each beer is a good thing. I will say this – drinking beer in excess is somewhat easier to control than spirits – whiskey festivals can tricky to manage crowd control!
Hope this gives an overview of “some” of the issues pertaining to organizing beer festivals and events in general in the DC Area – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
– Taste of Japan, Thursday April 4th, 801 K Street, NW , Washington DC
– Washington City Paper’s Best Of 2013 Fete Presented by Verizon Wireless, Wednesday April 10th, 801 K Street, NW, Washington DC
– Decanter: A Celebration of Maryland Wine and Racing, Saturday April 20th, Pimlico Race Course 5201 Park Heights Avenue , Baltimore MD
DC Beer Community Comes of Age (Includes DC Beer Week Events)
WTOP Beer of the Week: 3 Stars Brewery Pandemic Porter
w/Greg Engert, Beer Sommelier of Neighborhood Restaurant Group
Last year in 2011, two new breweries opened up in Washington, D.C. – this after almost 60 years without a brewery to call our own. Yes, we have Brew Pubs like Capitol City Brewpub, District Chophouse, and Gordon Biersch, but a true brewery produces beer in quantity for off-premise consumption. With the openings of DCBrau on April 15th, 2011 (great article by Tammy Tuck/Lagerheads) and Chocolate City Beer on August 18th, 2011, the DC Beer Scene had something to Celebrate – Local Pride! You will hear over and over again if you live in the DC area that there are few natives, almost everyone who lives here comes for a job/career and the assumption is they may not be here for much longer than a few years. The sign of a good economy is a mobile economy – this is true, but employees are human and they need to identify with something. This is where the locavore movement came to be: the concept that by eating local, and supporting local businesses, you help the local economy and develop a sense of community pride. DC’s local breweries tapped into this need for local identity – just consider their company names and the names of their beers, for example, DC Brau’s The Corruption and The Citizen.
I also want to mention that DC doesn’t always mean “District of Columbia” to us locals – NoVa (Northern Virginia) and Montgomery County (sometimes Prince George’s County too!) in Maryland all make up our local craft beer market – Baltimore is a whole different story. Port City Brewery opened up in 2011 with a bang and from a slightly different angle – yes, Alexandria, VA needed a Brewery (or 2..) but the background of Port City’s founder is really the story of the evolution of a wine professional into a craft beer brewer. During my days in the wine business, I often saw Bill Butcher, Port City’s Founder, at Mondavi tastings promoting the wine lifestyle. And that’s what wine marketing is really about – lifestyle. People who purchase wine tend to have a higher income (or they did a decade ago), are well educated, and pretty much define the commonly used term today “aspirational” – they have money, but dream of a higher status, and Mondavi/wine perfectly fit into this cozy scenario. But beer is different, even craft beer. What Bill did is create a local brand that gives and identity to Northern Virginia that it needed – a sense of place. SEE LIST OF PAID EVENTS BELOW
Quick Info Resources:
- DC Beer Week 2012 from the DCBeer people
- Washington City Paper (considered the Official List)
- Washington Post (Fritz Hahn)
Some events that feature local breweries or paid events to plan ahead for include:
3rd Annual DC Beer Week Craft Beer & Dinner Cruise on the Odyssey, August 12th (Sunday) boards the Odyssey at 5 pm, sets sail 6-9 pm
Enjoy unlimited tastings of more than 40 craft beers from across the US and around the world Included in the cost of admission is a full dinner buffet, DJ, dancing and a 3-hour cruise along the Potomac as we pass the majestic skyline of the nation’s capital. Cost is $125, tickets will not be available at the door, but can be purchased here.
-Italian Craft Beer Tasting
August 12th (Sunday) 2:30-4:30pm
Maple, 3418 11th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20010
Maple is hosting an afternoon tasting of craft brews from Italy. The country’s vibrant beer scene has rapidly expanded in recent years,
but the beers are not yet widely available in the U.S. Join us to sample six Italian beers and learn about the breweries behind them.
Antipasti will be served. Beer List
Tickets Are $40/per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity
Please reserve your spot by calling us at 202-588-7442.
–Meridian Pint: Cheese and Oxbow Beer – August 13th (Monday) 6:30pm
Meridian Pint – 3400 11th Street NW
Join Tim Adams, co-founder and head brewer of Oxbow Brewing Company, and Tim Prendergast, Assistant Beer Director at the Meridian Pint and a Certified Cicerone®, for a casual afternoon exploration of Oxbow beers and American artisanal cheese. Through five pairings, you will see the amazing affinity that Oxbow’s farmhouse beers and artisanal cheese have for one another. $45 includes tax and gratuity. Buy your tickets here http://goo.gl/STeiK. Save $10 when you also purchase tickets for Smoke & Barrel’s “Beer Meat Whiskey: Utah Edition” event http://goo.gl/Wy47z.
-5-Course Ommegash it’s Allagang Beer Dinner, August 14 at 7 p.m.
Granville Moore’s, 1238 H St. NE, Washington, DC 20002Portland, Maine’s Allagash Brewing Co. and Cooperstown, N.Y.’s Brewery Ommegang provide the beer for this dinner with food pairings by Granville Moore’s Chef Teddy Folkman and his culinary team. Complete Menu Tickets Are $65/per person, Call For Menu and Reservations (202) 399-2546
– SOLD OUT-DC Brau’s Genuine 1st Annual Official DC Beer Week Crab Festival Monumental Extravaganza, August 15th (Wednesday) 5 – 10 pm
Quarterdeck Restaurant, 1200 Fort Myer Drive, Arlington, VA 22209
SOLD OUT-Please help DC BRAU celebrate indigenous beer and these indigenous mid-Atlantic delicacies – All you can eat crabs and DC Brau Discount Pitchers of Beer. Tickets Are $35/per person, Purchase Tickets Online
–Smoke and Barrel: Beer, Meat, and Whiskey: Utah Edition – August 15th (Wednesday) 7pm
Join Michael Malachowski, National Sales Manager of Epic Brewing, and Troy Karnes, Passionate Whiskey Missionary from High West Distillery, for an hour of exploration into pairing meat with Utah beer and whiskey. Executive Chef and pitmaster Logan McGear will offer three distinct meat plates each paired with an Epic brew and a High West concoction.
$45 includes tax and gratuity. Save $10 when you also purchase tickets to Meridian Pint’s Cheese & Oxbow Beer event. Details at http://goo.gl/58rNY. Tickets and menu available here:
–Mad Fox Brewing Company: Cask Beer Dinner August 15th (Wednesday)
Mad Fox Brewing Company – 444 West Broad Street – Falls Church
Five course beer dinner featuring Mad Fox’s cask beers. $75/person.
-Hopfenstark Guided Beer Tasting, Thursday, August 16, Georgetown, 7pm
Pizzeria Paradiso (Georgetown), 3282 M Street NW, Washington DC 20007
Featuring a guided tasting of 10 Hopfenstark beers by brewmaster Frederick Cormier
$35 for 10 three ounce pours & your choice of 1 twelve ounce pour paired with its own Special Pizza
Call 202-337-1245 for Reservations (Required)
Complete Menu of Beers
–District Chophouse: 2nd Annual Cask Night – August 16th (Thursday) 6pm
District Chophouse – 509 7th Street NW , Washington, D.c.
Featuring Handcrafted Casks from over 15 Local Area Breweries, including DC Brewers Beer Week Collaboration Beer: Solidarity Saison, Bluejacket, DC Brau, 3 Stars Brewing Company, District Chophouse, and many more! $50 ticket includes: unlimited beer sampling, light Chophouse fare, tasting glass, raffle prizes. Reserve tickets by calling 202-347-1922
–Smoke and Barrel: Crab Feast with Evolution and 3 Stars Brewing Companies, August 17th (Friday)
Smoke and Barrel – 2471 18th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Tom Knorr, founder of Evolution Craft Brewing, is driving down bushels of Maryland Blue Crabs straight from the shore. Join him and the guys from 3 Stars Brewing for an all-you-can-eat crab feast. $45 covers tax and gratuity, as well bottomless Evolution and 3 Stars drafts from 6-8PM! Tickets available here: http://goo.gl/Tvj7i
–Bier Baron: Midsummer Barleywine Festival , August 17th (Friday) 7pm
Bier Baron – 1523 22nd Street NW , Washington, D.C.
The Bier Baron will be releasing its Cellar Reserve List—featuring its extensive collection of rare and vintage beers—and hosting a vertical tasting of four select vintages of Anchor Old Foghorn. Tickets can be purchased at BierBaronDC.com ($40 online/$50 at the door). Ticket includes entry to the event, a vertical tasting of Old Foghorn starting with an entire bottle of vintage 1991, and 20% off everything on the Cellar List and vintage barley wines on draft. Purchase Tickets Online (Paypal)
More to Come!