Posts Tagged ‘craft beer festivals’
Fantastic travel article covering food tourism by Skift
The first question – what’s the difference between a “Food Tourist” and simply a Foodie? It’s sort of like the Champagne question: all Champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are Champagnes (Champagne is a regionally protected name in France that also restricts the type of sparkling wines produced..).
A Food Tourist (also known as a “Gastro-Tourist” – this name sounds a bit..flatulent??) is:
-Defined by Gastrotourism.com:
“Gastro-tourists are foodies who want to go behind the scenes to taste and discuss the nuances of local region-specific foods and to learn about unique ingredients and cooking techniques from cultural experts.”
-Is more than just interested in going to fine-dining chef-driven restaurants – they want a “unique” experience around food and drink,
-Sees food, eating and drinking as more than just a necessity – it’s a form of experiential entertainment
After reading these lines, it may seem a bit high-falutin’ to be a food tourist, but it’s really just an extension of the realities of the modern world – people can afford to live and enjoy many of their fantasies, hopes and dreams – food and drink satisfy both a primal and an aspirational component of a Foodie’s life.
So what does this mean for the tourism industry and the companies that promote local food and drink? The key point is to focus on the “experience” – this is today’s “sell the sizzle, not the steak”:
-Since so much of initial information on a region is based on the web, consider adding or changing your website to expose and increase excitement level of your dining/drink experiences. For example, you could put the spotlight on a local brewery having a beer dinner at a local restaurant – this is much more interesting to the food tourist than simply listing restaurants/breweries on your site.
-Much of consumer tourism is focused on the weekend “escape” – a quick 2 or 3 day trip to escape the stress of working/urban lifestyle. This is generally a higher-income person or couple and they tend to eat out at finer restaurants and spend more money, so they are looking for a story to tell everyone – sort of the new “first on your block” to do something. This demographic has generally travelled and been to Europe, so consider emphasizing local “artisans” who make cider, distilled spirits, craft beer, or wine.
-Foodie experiences can include cooking classes, chef demonstrations, local food specialties (Georgia peanuts, Maryland crabs, Carolina BBQ, etc.) so give them an opportunity to try more than one: create a “Taste of <your city/town/county/region>” which showcases a mix of local food artisans, food trucks, restaurants, wineries, craft distilleries, breweries and other local foods.
-Give tourists an opportunity to explore and spend their money supporting “local” – the locavore/farm-to-table movement is still growing and resonates with the new Food Tourist – they want to both support local, be sustainable, and have a memorable experience. Support your local farms, and agri-businesses by listing them on your website and using social media to tell their story – you won’t regret it!
<<Addition: just found out about Asheville, NC’s “Foodtopia” concept on their site – Foodtopia – great way to discover their great chefs, distilleries, breweries and more – they even post a Discover Western North Carolina Cheese Tour >>
I hope this opens up some new ideas for tourism in your region – the challenge is to look at what you already have in the way of food and drink businesses and to better position them for success with tourists. Sometimes the best marketing program is to simply let these businesses do what they do – it may seem weird, but the internet and social media have made stars out of little local businesses that may seem under the radar, but actually have been on the Food Network or other media vehicles and have distinct followings. One example that comes to mind in my local area is Georgetown Cupcake in Washington, D.C. Even though they have virtually no marketing budget or help telling their story, they’re TLC TV Show DC Cupcakes (and Facebook Page with over 1.3 million Likes) keeps them constantly with long lines down the street in Georgetown – the only business like this in all of DC!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
DC Beer Festival season kicks in again – an amazing number of craft beer festivals – from 1-price all you can drink to the Mega Snallygaster “money is no obect” – there are festivals for the craft beer lover this Fall, 2015
As the head of TasteUSA, it’s my job to attend and cover as many food and drink festivals in the U.S. as possible – and since DC is my home base, here’s some upcoming events and maybe a recap or 2 to help you plan your Festival Season.
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ (September 19th, 2015 – Tyson’s Corner – but this festival visits many different cities during the season)- Trigger Agency’s series of over the top porkiness (?porkyness?) events that combine too much of what every hearty foodie wants: pigliciousness, Bourbon and of course craft brews! Expect more bacon too – it seems this is the current foodie draw to over-the-top events. Medium on the Beer Geek/Bourbon Geek scale, Trigger really specializes in a more laid-back vibe for the city slickers who want to just throw on some jeans and kick back a bit!
Arlington Backyard Beer Festival (September 19th, 2015 – Arlington Gateway, Rosslyn, VA) – although a first year event, the Organizers have put together multiple other local beer festivals including Drink the World Beer Festival and All-American Beer Festival . Expect a nice selection of craft beers and really great food trucks for food – the price is also right – you can save 30% off the ticket price at our site with promo code “tasteusa” and the VIP Tickets are only $45 before discount!
Das Best Oktoberfest (September 26th, 2015 – National Harbor, MD) – Hey, again you can get discounted tickets – only $29 for VIP all-you-can-drink – another Trigger Agency event that is very popular. You can do the German Oktoberfest thing, or simply enjoy lot’s of great beer – and since our discounted price is $29/per person (VIP) – you get a very affordable event to enjoy craft beers at!
Past Events (hey, they’ll be back next year!)
Snallygaster 2015 – Holy Smokes, this is one Great and expensive craft beer festival – Very High on the Beer Geek scale, maybe an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10! 300+ beers this year and many rare, cask, unique examples of hops, grain and yeast combined in an amazing array of choices. I actually tried a beer that
Annapolis Craft Beer & Music Festival – September 12th, 2015 – Outside the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, this event is always fun and has a nice selection of local beers including Jail Break, Oliver Breweries, and Heavy Seas.
Have fun at upcoming craft beer festivals – I’ll include an article soon on new food and drink events at TasteUSA – Cheer!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
America Loves Bacon..and So Does Washington, D.C.!
It’s Bacon Festival Season again, and Washington, D.C. seems to be the Extreme Bacon Capitol! Coming up are 2 Bacon Festivals the same weekend in DC – First the amazing and popular Capitol Bacon Fest brought to you by America Loves Bacon. Believe it or not, TasteUSA now Feature more Bacon Festivals than any other website!
Capitol Bacon Festival, May 30, 2015, The Fairgrounds, Washington, D.C. (near the Yards Park)- 2nd Time in Washington, D.C. – Last year’s Bacon Eating Championship was a Feast for the Senses (not bad on the eyes either) and will again pit some of DC’s Best Bacon Eaters in a competitive format. I really enjoyed this event last year – Charm City Caterers, Food Trucks and some local food purveyors made the event a Smorgasbord of Bacon Goodness!
I attended last year’s DC Bacon and Beer Festival in DC and it’s Back this year on Sunday, May 31st, 2015 – the day after Capitol Bacon Festival!! This was held at Penn Social and was quite good – there were quite a few chefs/restaurants and it Sold Out in literally a matter of minutes.
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ is June 19 and 20th, 2015 – We promote so many of these Festivals that we almost forget – this event includes a Huge Bacon Tasting! There are over 10+ Bacon tasting stations and of course this event comes with a great selection of Bourbons and Beers. The Trigger people produce this event all over the U.S. so they have special relationships with Pork Vendors – it’s Porky and Foodie!
Beer & Bacon Festival comes to Woodbridge, VA for the 2nd year on Saturday, August 29, 2015 and is presented by Trigger Agency again. There’s a Special Price for VIP Tickets on our site – and you get VIP Beer and Bacon Admission will host over 10 restaurant tasting stations featuring the BEST restaurants in the DC Metro area. They will be on-hand vying for the $500 Best Bacon Dish Prize. (VIP Beer & Bacon Session food tastings included, regular beer tasting session food is ala carte.)
• 2 tons of gourmet bacons will be griddled on-site (until 3pm). Save a Few Dollars on Beer & Bacon Festival Here
Past: I attended Beer, Bacon & Music at the Frederick Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 16th, 2015 – this was my first time visiting this event and location – the 2 Tons of Bacon made it really fun (you could literally eat your hearts content of bacon – the Jalapeno was awesome!!) and beers were a penny once you paid the very reasonable cover charge. I was impressed as much with the quality of the craft breweries represented as I was with the Bacon choices. I met a farm/brewery owner – Henry Ruhlman of Ruhlman Brewery in Hempstead, Maryland who told me the story of how he began growing Maryland Hops and went through all the regulatory hurdles to produce Farmhouse beers. Today, opening a brewery on a farm is much less of a struggle, but he said he would do it again!
TasteUSA has the Beer Festival List.. The Fall Season in Washington, D.C. is kicking in with an amazing number and quality selection of Craft Beer Festivals. I saw the Washington Post Article: Drink up: A guide to local fall beer festivals and decided that TasteUSA simply had a more comprehensive list – then again we specialize in promoting, marketing and communicating on craft beer festivals, but wine festivals and foodie events too!
3rd Annual Brew & Bourbon Classic Laurel Park RT 198 & Racetrack Road 09/13/2014 – 12:00pm
ChessieFest Grapeseed 09/13/2014 – 12:00pm
Bands, Brews & BBQ Manassas Museum Lawn 09/13/2014 – 12:00pm
Annapolis Craft Beer & Music Festival Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium 550 Taylor Ave 09/13/2014 – 12:00pm
Snallygaster Beer Festival Yards Park 355 Water St SE 09/13/2014 – 12:00pm
Taste of Georgetown K Street NW between Wisconsin Avenue and Thomas Jefferson Street 09/13/2014 – 12:00pm
Beer and Bacon Festival Heavy Seas Brewery, 4615 Hollins Ferry Rd 09/13/2014 – 12:00pm
District Oktoberfest Special Price VIP Tickets RFD 810 7th St., NW 09/20/2014 – 11:00am
Virginia Cider Festival Fredericksburg Fairgrounds 2400 Airport Avenue 09/20/2014 – 11:00am
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ -VIP Whole Hog Pig Pickin and Tasting Glass Lerner Town Square at Tysons II 09/20/2014 – 11:00am
Capitol Bacon Festival Fairgrounds 09/20/2014 – 11:30am
DC International Beer Festival (New Date and Location) Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW 09/20/2014 – 12:00pm
Maryland Brewer’s Harvest Bond Street Wharf 09/20/2014 – 12:00pm
Oktoberfest at Heurich House Heurich House Museum 09/20/2014 – 1:00pm
Du Claw Real Ale Fest DuClaw Brewing Company of BelAir 09/20/2014 – 2:00pm
Top of the Hops Charlottesville nTelos Wireless Pavilion 09/20/2014 – 3:00pm
Sterling Volunteer Fire Company Oktoberfest Patton Hall, 46700 Middlefield Dr. Sterling, VA 09/20/2014 – 5:00pm
Blues and Brews 2121 Crystal Drive Courtyard 09/24/2014 – 4:00pm
Maryland Microbrewery Festival Union Mills Homestead 09/27/2014 – 11:00am
Frederick Oktoberfest e-ventplex at the Frederick Fairgrounds 797 E Patrick St 09/27/2014 – 11:00am
Hoppy Oktoberfest Mad Fox Brewing Company, 444 West Broad Street 09/27/2014 – 12:00pm
Lovettsville Oktoberfest Town of Lovettsville 09/27/2014 – 12:00pm
Das Best Oktoberfest DC Armory 09/27/2014 – 1:00pm
Cambridge Firkin Festival Stoked 09/27/2014 – 2:00pm
Frederick Oktoberfest e-ventplex at the Frederick Fairgrounds 797 E Patrick St 09/28/2014 – 11:00am
Cap City Oktoberfest The Village at Shirlington 4001 Campbell Avenue 10/04/2014 – 12:00pm
Oktoberfest Reston Reston Town Center 10/11/2014 and 10/12/2014 – 12:00pm
8th Annual Northern Virginia Fall BrewFest Bull Run Regional Park 10/18/2014 – 11:00am
Fredericksburg BrewFest Fredericksburg Fairgrounds 2400 Airport Avenue 10/18/2014 – 11:00am
Shuckeroo Oyster and Beer Festival Fairgrounds 10/18/2014 – 11:00am
Tysons Fall Harvest Wine and Beer Festival Lerner Town Square at Tysons II 10/18/2014 – 11:00am
Real Ale Festival Pratt Street Ale House 10/18/2014 – 12:00pm
Shuck It! Beer & Oyster Festival Tony and Joe’s 10/18/2014 – 2:00pm
8th Annual Northern Virginia Fall BrewFest Bull Run Regional Park 10/19/2014 – 11:00am
DC Beer Festival Nationals Ballpark 11/08/2014 – 12:00pm
DC Craft Beer Festival – Winter Harvest Walter E. Washington Convention Center 11/22/2014 – 1:00pm
This is a light news coverage of a recent event I attended called Can Jam Festival which was held on Saturday, June 22nd 2013 at Kastles Stadium in Washington, D.C. This event was organized and promoted by Ontaponline – I’m very familiar with this organization which promotes lifestyle for 20s and 30s somethings in the DC Area – we were both founded in 1997 on the same block on Dent Place, NW in Washington, D.C.!
The concept for this event was to promote breweries that serve beer in cans – the most obvious and early adapter of this sustainable beer storage container is Oskar Blues, but many other breweries have caught on including a local favorite Lost Rhino in Ashburn, VA. I’m including the blurb on what breweries and food trucks participated below (hey, sometimes the news IS just the content!), but do want to mention I had a “Boss Dog” at Top Dog – and there is NOTHING like a well dressed hot dog on a hot day when you are drinking WAY TOO MUCH Beer!
Breweries include: Anderson Valley, Avery, Beck’s, Blue Moon, Budweiser, Cisco, Corona, DC Brau, Flying Dog, Genesee Cream Ale, Goose Island, Jack’s Cider, Kona, Leinenkugel, Lost Rhino, Modelo Especial, New Belgium, Old Speckled Hen, Oskar Blues, PBR, Pilsner Urquell, Redd’s, Redhook, Sam Adams, Shiner, Shock Top, Sierra Nevada, Starr Hill, Stiegl, Third Shift, Yuengling
Overall, a really fun event – the crowd was just the right size, so lines weren’t too long..also the weather was pretty perfect – sunny and no clouds. One comment – lagers, pilsners and lighter beers tend to refresh and are better in the hot weather. So if you decide to pop one open, remember – keep it light (but not lite!) – Cheers!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Some upcoming Festivals on TasteDC:
–Neighborfood H St. Foodie Tour – Saturday, June 29th, 2013 – H Street, NE in Washington, D.C. opens up a to a new food tour – 8 restaurants (click on link for details) each showcase different dishes that represent the culinary diversity and uniqueness of this area.
–Wine Stock Festival – Saturday, July 13th, 2013 – Little Washington Winery, Sperryville, VA – Festival about 90 minutes from DC celebrating great American wines, food and lots of great music – the view is beautiful too!
–Best of Washingtonian – Wednesday, July 17th, 2013 – National Building Museum, DC – Big Shindig which has all the the great chefs and restaurants and tons of great drinks and food – worth the $125 ticket price, or the VIP $175!
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