With myriad beer festivals these days – and more coming into being all the time – what makes the festivals you’re either part of or you enjoy special?

GABF Media luncheon 2013 set up

GABF Media luncheon 2013 set up

You can look at any fest and see what is working, what’s not and what can be and needs to be altered. Or at least we can, since we participate in dozens each year.

The Great American Beer Festival offers a few special touches that serve the entire beer community:

1. The Brewpub Pavilion. They added this feature a few years ago and it’s grown to 35 breweries inside a partitioned section of the fest floor. It’s a smart way for more breweries to participate in this sell-out-quick fest AND highlights the import of brewpubs in our culture.

2. The Pro-Am booth. This year featuring “102 top collaborations” between homebrewers and pro brewers. A healthy portion of today’s pro brewers started as homebrewers.

3. The Media Luncheon. Let me pause for a moment…..This alone is value of the Media Passes we’re fortunate enough to have been accepted for. WOW! It’s a red carpet treatment featuring previous medal winning beers with incredibly delicious foods. This year there was a record 400+ media & press present for this highlight. Treating the media and press to insight, not just free entry, is a step above and well beyond. AND they know it serves a great purpose: to keep the conversation going (this post is a great example of that). The luncheon provides us with information to utilize and return to year round.

4. Badges. something as simple as Press Credentialed ID’s are helpful for all. You can see who your colleagues are, admittance is easier for organizers, and who doesn’t like to be a badge wearer!?

So examine your fests, from consumer to pro. While not all fests are set up to offer the above, there are infinite ways to adapt and fit smart strategies for all sizes of festivals for increased success.

Look at what makes them special, what needs to be discussed, and then go talk about it with the appropriate parties.

Categories: Beer, Events, Something To Think About
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