Thursday, October 29, 2009

Topsy Turvy

If Gilbert and Sullivan were to write a musical about brewers festivals, it might reference the recently concluded Skamania Lodge in house beer fest. Jeff Alworth over at Beervana has an extended write up. Go there if you want to know about the beers and the setting.

An issue that he raises is the nature of beer festivals. He rightly notes that the Oregon Brewers Festival was started to promote Oregon craft beers, a crucial boost to getting folks to try these new fangled brews. In 1988, most people were drinking the big boys beers and had not heard of much less tasted a craft beer.
What Alworth is saying or at least proposing is that festivals have evolved and are now numerous. He adds that this particular one may have been about promoting the destination rather than the beer.

I couldn't agree more and it speaks to the maturation of the industry that the craft beer "brand" is a significant enough draw with a significant enough following to bring people to a place that needs to fill beds.
There's nothing new about putting good food and drink on the table and attracting folks to it. What is different is exploiting a particular type of combination, craft beer + "festival" to fill the seats.

The OBF can take some credit here, but many other festivals have proven to be good "products" that can be used as a lever to bring people in to consume other products. No wonder the OBF turns away more vendors every year who want to sell stuff to festival goers. (Not that we don't want our vendors there, but there is a limit to the real estate.)