Not all press is created equal. Not by a long shot.
Many thanks to those professionals who really know their craft, keep honing and learning to serve, and are good people to work with.
Specific thanks to these folks:
- Vickie Aldous, Ashland Tidings
- Ronnie Crocker, Houston Chronicle
- John Foyston, Journalist
- Kellie Hwang, Arizona
- Sarah Lemon, Mail Tribune
- Rick Lyke, Journalist
- Claire Sykes, Writer
- John Holl, Journalist
- Kim Hobbs & Heidi Chackel, Southern Oregon Magazine
Our thanks for your commitment and standards.
Cheers to Jennifer!
She had a great time at one of my all time favorite (so far) beer festivals, the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison Wisconsin USA a week ago.
It’s very well run by the Madison Homebrewers and Tasters Guild. Having also worked it from the brewery side before, I can tell you unequivocally they are dynamite for serving the brewers who participate. More festivals should take a nod from them.
- Plentiful, knowledgeable volunteers
- Nice locale, workable environment
- Managed capacity, tents to shield from sun and rain
- Good length and time of day
- On Gorgeous Lake Monona
WEB’s friend, House of Brews, also is a part of the festival. Another reason for us to love it. Hope to get back there for it next year. Felt a withdrawal of sorts this year….I’ll be okay…I guess….
Cheers also to well run festivals. A well run show benefits the brewers, organizers and goers (most importantly).
When you think about the people in the beer community, who springs to mind? More specifically, who do you find in your very own beer universe? Who is it that you like, do business with, must and want to associate with in relation to beer?
- Is it the brewer in your town? Is it the bartender at your favorite taphouse/brewpub/bar/restaurant?
- Is it the distributor who takes good care of your beer?
- Is it the customer who sends you cool links and notices your progress?
- Is it you partner/parent/spouse/sibling who supports you and listens to you?
- Is it the fan who simply likes to stay in touch?
Our beer community in this country is very broad and far reaching. It’s deep and thoughtful, unseasoned and young, mature and knowledgeable.
We have so many remarkable people in some many areas of the beer community that I’d be hard pressed to exclude anyone who really enjoys engaging in beer, whether they drink it or not – sans snobs and arrogant people.
Our weekly live BeerRadio program is part of my community for example. It’s something I’ve created to get to talk with people all over about their relationship with beer. We get good feedback and can utilize the (archived) shows for years to come. When you converse, you build community. When you converse, you also get to learn, share and help each other out.
If you’re enjoying the beer community around you, be sure to let people know as much. Say thank you, invite them for a beer, and see what you can do for them. Support your local beer community.
Beer is truly a universal beverage. Art lovers love beer – did you know that?
Last week found WEB at a local gallery during the monthly First Friday art walk. Like some other communities around the world, the local gallery association encourages the members to host once a month Art Walks from gallery to gallery. It’s a moving casual cocktail and noshing see each other get some mild exercise kind of event. And usually lots of fun, though not overly revenue bearing for the galleries.
Enter: enlightened gallery owner and manager. I got a call from a connection wherein the manager told me she and the owner wanted to change up their art walk a bit and perhaps offer beer instead of wine.
It may seem like a minor change to some, a small decision, yet it was a smart step for them. They felt like they wanted to do something different while still fitting the bill.
Results: A smash! These kinds of events, especially in communities like mine, engender repeat participants – and exactly who you are after in marketing any product or good, beer or art. Getting people to return to see again, consider, think, buy and support is what it’s all about.
The gallery manager and owner were very easy to work with, we made it smooth and seamless for them and they have a successful sales night. We served a beer, incidentally, from a brand new brewer which was aged in wine barrels from a local winery too. It was an easy thing to ‘sell’ since the patrons were accustomed to wine. Almost everyone who approached the table to get a small to sip tried it. There were a few hold outs for wine – less than a hand full out of a few hundred people.
And I firmly believe (partially based on focus group input) we had more participation simply because it was different. I’ve had women in focus groups flat out state that if the art walks offered beer, they’d go. Proof positive happened.
New art show, new beverage, new smiles. Beer and art bring people together. We love them both and we’re hoping to get back to do it again.
Think outside the frame.
How many are we up to now…Beer Weeks in America? While I’m not in the one tasked with knowing, I do know this: Beer Week community celebrations are good on several levels.
- They bring people together. Beer is a social lubricant.
- They create and stimulate revenue for communities.
- They highlight the myriad American beers available for enjoyment.
- They’re focused if not incidental educational opportunities for consumers and professionals.
- They’re fun.
Support your local Beer Week or find a regional one to participate in.We shot this clip of video during the festival capping the inaugural Medford Beer Week.
Consumers: Get out there and be active in your support of the great big beer community. What they do for our country goes way beyond what’s in the glass.
Professionals: Get out there and find the best fitting festivals for you. Speak up and with organizers to make sure they are safe, fun and well run.
Media: Beer Week’s and festivals are good news – and everybody wants some of that!
Do you support your local beer festival? Do you know how much economic stimulus they provide for communities?
We’re been to a few so far this summer and have more on deck. They’re good fun and a perfect educational opportunity for consumers, breweries and organizer. They bring in revenue and allow for exploration of ‘new’ beers.
You already know beer brings people together. Help that togetherness continue and grow by Supporting your Local Beer Festival.
Here’s one example of a woman enjoying beer. We had the pleasure of meeting her at the Mt. Shasta Brew Festival that occurred just last weekend.
It was a good event in another specific way: the Rotary Club was receptive to us approaching them, even though they’d not heard of us and didn’t have any other (non beer or food) vendors. The key to any progress is an open mind.
We unfortunately find that some festival organizers aren’t receptive – and what’s frustrating about that is they don’t seem to realize or fully try to understand we’re beer educators. We’re good for all makers & sellers of quality beer.
If you are involved in any festival or event organization take note: before you flatly say no (for whatever reason short of the ludicrous) ask a few questions of the inquirer. They could be a very good fit and complement and augment your efforts. They’re reaching out to you in hopes of being part of the success of your event. Isn’t that what you’re trying to do – have a successful event?
I know one reason the Mt. Shasta Festival also agreed to have us there was we actively cross marketed the event. We also offered tips on how to try to increase their traffic and success of the event.
Do you have the facilities to serve your beer out of doors? Because if you can find any way possible (and legal) DO IT!
Women love to enjoy their beer in the fresh air. Why?
1. In some areas of the country, sitting outside is limited (although no reason it has to be) so outside time is highly prized and actively pursued. Patios, decks, and the like. Get creative and find even a small space where people can enjoy beer al fresco.
2. Fresh beer deserves a fresh air environment. A light breeze, a misty rain – if the space is protected, and attractive or inviting walls/plants/etc.
3. Beer Season seems to run from Memorial Day to Labor Day – summer for many Americans. Capitalize on it be highlighting your outdoor space.
4. If you have truly fresh untainted or smelly air in your area, host women’s tasting events outside. Double whammy! An event would fill fast and will be worth repeating (WEB is hosting one in September, S OR).
Of course, it goes (almost) without saying that you supply or make available fresh food too. I’ll say it just in case. Involve a food cart with fresh fare, great fresh cheeses and fruit are always in order too.
Suffice it to say: WEB encourages all makers and servers of fresh beer to bust the myth that ‘pub food’ has to be greasy. That’s unacceptable. Change the model for fresh food – just as craft brewers have changed the expectation for fresh beer.
In the ensuing year that’s passed between then and now, the White Water Warehouse company is becoming part of the ROW Adventures Family – it’s a great new stage of change and we’re thrilled to be part of this years event. It’s easy to plan a great outing when you’re working with quality people – and they all are outstanding!
The trip actually started yesterday, with my colleague and friend Jamie Floyd of Ninkasi, and I driving the the lodge to take off with a bunch of fun and beer loving guests. We’re featuring Ninkasi beers this year and we’ll share all the details upon return.
Want to go next year? Let ROW know!
We’ll be back soon – Cheers to Rafting and Crafting.
Feel like Sailing though summer? You can do so with Full Sail Beer – it was the brewery we featured at our meet up last Thursday night at one of our favorite hosts, 4 Daughters Irish Pub in Medford OR.
In honor of Oregon Craft Beer Month, we chose Full Sail for a number of reasons: We know some of the great people that make the beer, it’s very high quality beer (made in a nice clean environment), and they brew really tasty beer.
- Full Sail Amber Ale with a summer cod wrap (mango-avacado salsa, Cajun spiced cod and crips romaine in a spinach wrap).
- Brewmasters Reserve Imperial IPA with 4 Daughters’ Blarney burger (beef patty with sauteed onions, bleu cheese on fresh house made buns)
- Session Black* with succulent barbequed ribs (fall off the bone tender ribs with house made finger licking good sauce)
- LTD 03 with fried pickles (classic crisp refreshing light bodied beer paired with a fresh fried pickle)
*This beer is a terrific one for educational purposes. It’s the perfect anti-beer racism beer. It was also the favorite course of the night.
Ahhhh – Friday. What a perfect day it was to enjoy a barbecue. And that’s exactly what we did yesterday – enjoyed a BBQ with some of the most interesting, hospitable and kind people in the beer community: Hops Growers.
If you’ve ever enjoyed getting to know the growers, vendors and suppliers who make your beer possible, then hop-fully you know that hops farmers are generous, gracious and just flat out nice people.
In honor of them today, we want to share a few tidbits that female consumers find interesting about hops. Feel free to share them and use them in educating internally and externally.
- Hops is a bine (v.s a vine) and it winds its way up a trainer without feet or suckers.
- There are dozens of hops varieties of hops and many hops products (pellets, cone hops, extracts – and then variations in those products)
- Different hops lend aromas, bittering units, or both – depending on the hops.
- You can/do add hops to the brew at different stages of the brewing process, for different reasons.
- Washington, Oregon and Idaho are the primary commercial hops growing states in the Union, with other states producing them too.
If you’re a professional and already know this – great! Now’s the time to push and share this information forward. Women like to know more about their beer and the story behind this one unique ingredient – hops – will be welcome conversation.
And if you’re that same professional it’s the opportunity to converse and make sure you’re up on your info and to find out what women want to know about hops and beer.
Take the hop-ortunity and run with it.
- American Organic Hop Grower Association
- Goschie Farms
- Indie Hops
- Oregon Hop Commission
Women Enjoying Beer is partnering on some events with the local public television station to promote a few things.
- Ken Burns’ newest film set for release 10/2 – 4, Prohibition.
- Education of the prohibition era and causes, effects, and so on about the personality that was the pre/during/post prohibition age of America. WEB will speak at each event on different aspects that the film will be talking about.
- Promoting community involvement and support of public broadcasting.
We’re very selective about who we get involved with per fundraising and events such as this. It happens to be a great fit this time.
Kari at SOPTV is on top of the details, public broadcasting is something WEB supports, and it’s a terrific opportunity to partner with a very visible community member on a topic near and dear to our WEB heart.
Message today: There are many ways to get involved with causes you support and benefit as well. All profits will go to the station, we cross market for each other thereby meeting more potential customers, and we have a great time with engaged and generous hosts.
I’d encourage you to look at perhaps also partnering with a local group – be it a public television station brewery or other likely host – for the film. Mr. Burns’ makes extremely high quality films in which we all have something to learn.
p.s. keep in mind the top 3 things women want via beer that these events will accomplish: education, social setting and value.
Whenever we head to a festival, it’s simply a matter of time (usually in minutes) before we connect with someone who:
- Is someone we already know in the beer community
- Is an immediate connection to another person in the beer community we know
Walt was right: It’s a small world after all and the beer community is even smaller. This is another characteristic of the beer community that makes the pursuit of WEB enjoyable. The professional colleagues, the consumers, the vendors and suppliers, the distributors and retailers. We all make up an incredible web of folks progressing the high quality beers we know and love. And the ones we don’t yet know in a taste bud way yet can’t wait to embrace.
Our picture today is two beer lovers at this summer’s Southern Oregon Craft Brew Festival in Medford, OR. They are sporting Willimantic Brewing shirts. Connection: David Wollner, the good man who owns and operates the brewery, invited us to stay at his home when we were on our cross country trip. And we saw each other again most recently at SAVOR.
Message today: Beer community people are connected and happy to connect with others who share their passion. It’s one of the biggest attractions to the group, me thinks.
And as beer educators, we always look very forward to further deepening these connections and relationships and building new ones.
Queue the music please…
- July 1st = Canada Day
- July 1st = first day of Oregon Craft Beer Month
- July 1st = My (personal) anniversary
Point today: Look for lesser known or obscure holidays and reasons to throw a celebration connected to you beer. So as example of the above think about these ideas.
- Canada Day – host a Canadian Brewer, feature Canadian Beers (tap take over for instance), host an open house on Monday which is “Hockey Night in Canada” to honor our friends to the North (or East if you’re in Alaska). If you want, I can come sing the Canadian national Anthem at your party.
- Oregon Craft Beer Month – same as above in featuring and celebrating beers from whatever state or city is in the midst of a reveling fiesta per their beers.
- Anniversaries – any kind of anniversary is a great reason to pull those taps. Anniversary of the opening, foundation pouring, new equipment arriving, 1000th glass of beer sold, and so on. Offer some sort of goodie for other celebrating the same kind of benchmark.
Creative holidays resonate with many and with as enthusiastic as the general craft beer drinker is, they’ll jump in to help you celebrate. Heck – ask people what they’d like to celebrate and designate a special holiday all your own to host each year.
Whatever you do, have fun with it and everyone will have a great time. Your beer is your currency so invite consumers in to live it up with you.
Summer Beer Festival season is fully upon us. We hope you’re enjoying them both from the giver (brewery side), receiver (consumer side), and host.
Last weekend found us at a local brew festival which reminded us of smart tips and tactics for fully enjoying the celebration, for both the consumer, brewery, and hosts.
Eat a full meal before you head to the festival. Having a full stomach will enhance your enjoyment without hampering your fun by drinking on an empty stomach. Nobody likes the drunk people at a festival (especially the hosts).
- If it’s a festival of any size (read: 10 or more breweries) have a strategy. Decide before hand if you’ll focus on a style or two, breweries you haven’t tasted before, or follow the lead of a seasoned friend you’re going with.
- Have a designated driver or safe transportation home lined up and agreed upon before you head out. Write a taxi service phone number on your hand if need be and have the necessary cash stashed on you to pay for it.
- Savor the beers, don’t slam them. The goal at a festival is not to consume the most beer you can. The brewers put a lot of effort and passion into the beer. Take your time with it.
- Women: be sure you’re feeling safe in the company you’re headed out with, talk about who’s watching out for who and where to collect if and when you get separated.
- Wear or bring sunscreen, water (reusable bottle – perhaps empty before you get into the festival), and comfortable clothes including a brimmed hat. This isn’t a skin fest, and a sunburn is painful for everyone.
- Leave your dogs at home. The festivals get hot, many are on pavement, they may get stepped on or jump on others, and they’ll dehydrate. They’re not there for the beer, so leave them safely home.
- Know what your drinking limits are. The hosts and breweries didn’t put this together to be a drunk fest. Be a good guest. Alternating between beer and water will be enormously helpful for staying well hydrated.
- Designate and train well in pour sizes. Legal rules for festivals vary greatly. Make sure the people pouring the beer are fully aware and understand the gravity of the size of pours
to minimize over drinking.
- Smile and dress professionally. You are your brand and you should look professional and ready to greet your enthusiasts.
- Have your beers clearly labeled and easy to read. This includes making sure people can read the names above the top of the crowd. Signage on the table or on the jockey box is impossible for anyone to read once the festival gets going. Rig up a simple post attached to your jockey box and you’re set.
- Watch the pours. Ensure the beer is not only meeting legal guidelines, make sure it’s being poured in responsible quantities. You didn’t make this incredible product to get people drunk so help monitor the quantity beast.
- If you pass out tchotchkes, make sure they are appropriate, green and fun. No off color or sexist items are suitable.
- Figure out a good way to allow entrance into the festival. Meaning, having a easy to navigate entrance, ticketing and ticket buying process in place. Call other successful festivals to see what they do, why it works and how to develop your own best practices.
Go Green.Allow empty water bottles inside and then have a few clearly marked hydration stations in good locations (by the biffy’s for example). Don’t penalize your audience or the earth by making them buy water in plastic bottles inside the grounds.
- Aim for Zero Waste. Have clear streaming containers so all the materials at the festival get properly accounted for. If the GABF can do it, so can you – no excuses. Unless we all think ahead about taking care of Mother Earth, we won’t be enjoying any beer anywhere.
- If you have wrist bands, ask a transportation company to sponsor them emblazoned with their phone number in big letters and numbers for easy reading.
- Have hand washing stations outside the toilets and a waste paper receptacle immediately adjacent to them.
- Include a few food vendors, being sure to also account for vegetarians that will patronize the festival. Make sure food is affordable, easy to eat standing up and not too messy. Healthy choices are even better.
- Go for a small glass size. Full size pints, while maybe collectors items, are cumbersome, too big for some hands of both genders, and are dangerously large for over pouring. Plus the ubiquitous tapered pint glass is one of the worst glasses for beer period. Shatter the myth and offer a cool sample size glass they can easily transport and show off later too.
- Unloading and loading. Have hand carts available for vendors, a team of volunteers ready to help them unload and reload, direct vendors to where they can temporarily park to un/load, and be ready to provide other answers. The Great Taste of the Midwest has an outstanding machine in place for this.
- Cruise the festival constantly to ensure everything is in order, people are having a good time responsibly and all the guests are being taken care of. Keep your internal customers in mind too: the volunteer corp that helps make it happen.
- Don’t allow dogs. They aren’t there for the beer so do them a favor and make sure the marketing is very clear on this point.
- Have friendly, diplomatic, smiling people at the entrances and as volunteers. Make sure they are able to handle what’s being asked of them, they have ready back up for questions or sticky situations and are fully (and stay) sober.
Fred is a terrific person with a gracious crowd manner. Given that the evening had progressed well for all in the salon room (read: some had a small glow on so they were chatty), he was also excellent at moving straight ahead regardless of the banter in the room. For the most part, the guests were very tuned in.
Fred chose to feature and talk about Beer & Chocolate. While it may be old news to some in the beer community, it’s important to remember that there are still millions of people, and millions of those people are women, who don’t think to pair these two goodies together.
I’ll be so bold as to say the entire room enjoyed the pairings, the information and the great delivery of Fred with his flight of 5. They were:
- Golden Cap Saison Ale with Cointreau Truffle
- Dragon’s Milk Ale aged in oak barrels with Shitake Truffle
- Black Tulip Trippel Ale with Lemongrass and Ginger Truffle
- Pilgrim’s Dole Wheatwine with Sea Salt Caramel Truffle
- Night Tripper Imperial Stout with Cinnamon & Cayenne Truffle
Tonight then WEB is offering Beer and Gelato for our women’s event. We offered it in answer to a huge positive response based on an Imperial Stout malted milk shake at an event last summer. It should prove to be enlightening since most consumers don’t think to pair beer and gelato (or chocolate), much less with dessert in general.
Cheers and chocolate to Fred. Looking forward to keeping the education machine rolling forward.
Why the recognition?
Because they were the reason I was at SAVOR, starting with Nancy. As the Events Director of the BA, she’s the lead on driving the events the BA puts together. I am grateful she responded to my inquiry to help in any way at this spectacular event. I’d have been happy to sweep the floors afterwards. She gave me an opportunity to be part of the Salons. It was fascinating, very fun and another terrific enhancement to the entire event.
Steven, Julie, Ken, Father Thomas, and Fred were all the crux of the Salons. Julie helped me get set up for Steven, and the rest were the easy to assist fine featured speakers in the salons. The Salon sessions were tastings sessions full of engaging information from the presenters. Relaxed, beautiful settings allowed the attendees to really get an intimate bubble of time with these remarkable contributors to the craft beer community.
Stephanie and her entire staff were uber helpful, well trained and ready to assist with a nod, and genuinely good people. I’m often impressed by the service staff of any event. They are the ones who make it all tick, handle details most of us don’t even think about, and pull it all off making it look easy. (And often I’m miffed at why more people don’t recognize how important these people are.)
In any (SAVOR) event, my gratitude to participate in the event to them all. They made it easy and even more fun than I had thought I’d have (and I have a high fun-meter expectation).
It takes so little to make people happy.
Quality beer, lively company, fun atmosphere, and terrific hosts. When I say ‘little’ I don’t mean minimally or small things. It’s the effort part. Let me explain.
If you’re going to do something, then you’re going to put effort into it, right? And if you’re going to put effort into it, you may as well make sure you’re doing yourself, the effort and all related resources to good use. Otherwise, don’t bother. Plus – women don’t like half-baked attempts.
At the All Ale The Ladies event Sunday last (6.5.11) in Washington DC, everything was spot on. Yes, it was crowded (how many dozens of women wanted to come that got turned away!?). And the energy was off the charts!!! The energy compensation alone made the squished-in-a-small-space-college-party-feel totally acceptable.
It was a distinct pleasure to be a featured guest speaker – in great company, might I add – as well. In honor of the women in attendance (and a few sporting men), during my brief spotlight turn I spontaneously had the entire room raise their right hand and pledge:
“I am a Woman/Who enjoys my beer/
And no one else can tell me/What beers to like or drink.”
It’s almost needless to say that there was a huge and uproarious ‘Cheers!’ to the pledge when we were done.
Really, it’s simple: get engaged participants in the same room (women), serve them right (fresh quality beer and food), take care of them (service again), thank them for coming (external customer experience), thank the generous hosts (internal customer experience), talk about beer (education), treat them with respect as consumers (no-brainer for too few), and you’ll hit it way beyond out of the park. Try the next county.
My sincere gratitude goes out to the following for inviting me to be part of this event. And for putting together and executing such a successful and impactful evening of Women in Beer:
- Tammy Tuck, the Lagerheads; Hollie Stephenson, The Black Squirrel; Rachel Murray, Bourbon.
- Heather McAndrews, Washington City Paper & Amy, Avalon, Chef/kitchen staff – all of The Black Squirrel.
- Julia Herz/Brewers Association, Sebbie Buhler/Rogue, Lindsey Miller/Baying Hound, Jessica Muskey/Premium Distributors, Emma English/Starr Hill Brewing, Lauren Boveington/Great Lakes Brewing, Kristi Mathews Griner/Hops Grill and Brewery.
- And perhaps the most – since they’re the ones who showed up to cram it full and to keep learning and being inspired by quality beer and other women in beer: the bar full to overflowing of incredible, enthusiastic, beer loving women.
Thanks from the bottom of my glass and heart! Hope to see you all sooner again that later.
Here’s a whole slew of fabulous pictures by Heather McAndrews to enjoy.
The end of this week will find me in Washington DC, our nation’s capitol, being a small part of the incredible SAVOR event. Hope to see some of you ‘back East’!
The Brewers Association press release shared (full release here):
An American Craft Beer & Food Experience
Brewers Association Adds Second Night to Popular Washington, D.C. Event
Now in its fourth year, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience returns to Washington, D.C. and expands from one to two nights. Presented by the Brewers Association (organizers of the Great American Beer Festival®), SAVOR, the benchmark of beer and food events, is a must-attend happening for beer lovers and foodies alike.
Attendees will sample craft beers from 72 small and independent craft brewers who team up with a duo of expert chefs to pair each craft beer with delicious savory and sweet dishes. Educational salons [where I’ll get to assist] and private tasting salons will provide additional opportunities for attendees to interact with some of America’s most talented craft brewers and chefs.
Friday, June 3 and Saturday, June 4, 2011, 7:30 – 11:00 PM
National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
SAVOR’s rapid growth is strong evidence of the public’s appetite for craft beer along with food that complements and accentuates this artfully brewed beverage. In 2010, the event sold out in less than one day, which is why SAVOR has expanded to two nights for 2011. This year promises to be another memorable event for attendees looking to taste the best that America’s small and independent craft brewers have to offer.