Have We Gone Overboard?

There was a time when we simply described things as they were: carrots, beer, cars, songs. Hot cold, spicy, bland, fizzy, flat, red, blue and green.

Now it feels very different to me. Words like craft, artisan, farmhouse, and custom are bandied about with a carefree nonchalance that the most hardened foodie may find appalling.

And to what end? Are all these words used in context to what we put into our mouth merited? Does it truly matter to you where they came from or is it trendy? Said another way, do you think you need to be aware and care or do we fundamentally and genuinely care? Do we use the words because they really matter or because we’re keeping up with the organic-farm-eating Jones’? Here’s a few food words to consider.

Case in point: Paired.

Paired is a “craft beer + food” event offered to attendees of the Great American Beer Festival, fall every September. What was once titled Farm to Table is now Paired. Why the switch of the name, is my first question. Are we in a day and age where single glib or seemingly gravitational words are how we want to sum up an entire experience? Do we want the feeling of something or do we want to enjoy the literal fruits of someone else’s labor? Farm to Table is straight forward and descriptive.

Paired menu 2016

Paired menu 2016

Don’t get me wrong: the Paired event is quite a show. The host organization, The Brewers Association, has deemed me worthy of a media pass several years, for which I’m grateful. Trappings of that badge include admittance to this event. Any time I get to eat with drink I’m happy. The planning and effort that goes into this one event, for example, looks to be a remarkable undertaking. Kudos.

So let’s look at the menu. Read one way, we can safely say it’s chock full of learning opportunity! An overflow of words that are new to me, so no doubt a collection of new vocab to others as well. Take for instance: rillette, mignonette, tataki, fromage fort, taleggio, membrillo, fish headcheese, chorizo seco, duck pipian, loukaniko...and on it goes. A crash course in Italian and French in many ways. Cool! I love to learn so there’s a build in homework option.

And if we’re looking at keeping it real and every day, this isn’t the event for you. I honestly think that someone looking for everyday food they cook (in a broad general sense) would not fully enjoy or appreciate. Words that are unfamiliar and to some unpronounceable don’t really engender new ideas; they engender fear of mispronunciation and sometimes, due to that, simple avoidance.

I’ve found the best way to navigate this event is to simply wander and ask lots of questions. The crews present are always very knowledgeable and it’s a good way to make new connections. Simply know that the next person in line will likely also ask some of the same questions of the crew. It’s gotta be a long repetitive day, and that’s what this is about: meeting, talking & educating on a redundant soundtrack to help people learn more about what they are eating, beverage paired with food.

To that end it’s a smash. Again, I enjoy it. I also find that by the time I’m ready to go all I want is a plate full of one food I know and recognize and to fill up on with a full glass of beer.

Have we taken the beer & food pairing too far?

Likely it’ll get pushed farther still. So be it. For me it’s about knowing what I’m getting into, embracing it for what it is – Italian lessons beforehand be damned – and then coming out the other side. Enlightened, fuller and perhaps more curious, “Woman overboard!” an infrequent call.

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How Will Mature Beer Markets Grow?

By addressing women.

Mature markets is a misnomer, first of all. They aren’t mature if the entire population isn’t equally invited into the conversation.

One of the goals of the Brewers Association, for example, is to figure out how to grow in mature markets. Markets keep evolving and advancing, receding and changing so growth is a relative term. So I’d ask: how do you want to grow? More importantly, how do you define growth? What are those components driving your definitions? How will the definition change going forward?


Growth isn’t only or always about volume or quantity. It can be myriad definitions, as it suits the parties involved. I laud businesses who focus on growth as stability, internal improvement which then radiates to external audiences. Growth that lessens environmental impact, improves the quality of life of those involved and gives to the community around the entity is smart. Growth that increases capacity or volume sheerly for “more” is misguided and doomed to bust, sooner or later. Balloon walls are only so forgiving.

I can guarantee that when beer invites women into the conversation, markets will evolve – they will grow in participation – they will advance with more voices, more education and more participation. Until then, well, good luck beer.

Market growth isn’t that difficult to figure out or to accomplish. For example:

  1. Do the images and picture you use equally feature women and men? if it’s lopsided, you can fix it right now. I’ve yet to see a beer magazine have an equal mix of women and men. Who will be the first one to rightly accurately represent the population??
  2. Do labels, beer names or brand names focus on the beer, and steer clear of anything sexual? If your beer can stand on its own, it deserves a place in the market. If you are relying on sexist images – of any sort – then get out of the way for the rest.
  3. Are you talking to everyone who approaches your beer with equal enthusiasm? If you reduce people to brains & tastebuds, vs. reproductive make up, then you’re doing it right.

Beer needs women more than women need beer. Heck, women – and men for that matter – don’t ‘need’ beer at all. Growth of beer is reliant on women and the sooner the professional beer industry community sees that, the better off we’ll all be. In fact, I’ll drink to that.

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1 2 3 Brewery Marketing Punch

I had the distinct pleasure to be part of a panel at this years Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia this month.

Abby sharing tips on how to get PR for your brewery.

Abby sharing tips on how to get PR for your brewery.

Julia Herz, Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, and Abby Berman Cohen, The Rosen Group PR Firm, were my colleagues to inform, educate, and provide answers and ideas to a room full of beer folk.

As testament that marketing is a forever-desired topic and necessary part of business, the room was indeed pretty full (I’m guessing 200 – 300 people). When Julia asked for a show of hands for new, start up, and in-planning breweries to raise hands, a LOT of the room participated. Whoa.

With over 2 breweries opening every day in America, there’s a huge need for people going into any kind of beer business to get smart with their marketing plans. Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. With well over 4300 breweries in America already, the field becomes more populated every day. This  makes the clarity of your marketing message and brand all the more crucial to survival.
  2. All breweries must have a plan. Because opening a brewery is a business like any other entity, you must plan to succeed. Marketing is part of the foundational planning.
  3. Marketing = communication, education. Knowing your market and desired target market needs to be done before any tanks are bought, leases signed, or beers brewed. You must know who you will sell to before you begin.

One statement I made in my remarks was that the days of ‘if I brew it, they will come’ are long lover. The public – all of us – are more and more savvy to beer now than we were even a few years ago, never mind 5, 10 or 15+ years ago. It’s a whole new landscape and people wishing to open breweries need to prepare their marketing plans in order to succeed long term.

Philadelphia Convention Center

Philadelphia Convention Center

Being a flash in the pan works for gold mining. All other endeavors need to understand the full and total value of developing a marketing plan to make a living.

If you want to make beer in your garage and give it to your friends, fine – go for it. That’s what home brewing is about.

If you want to go up about 5 levels to pro level brewing and open a brewery, then do everyone the best service – you especially – and become business savvy. Study up, find a partner who likes and is knowledgeable in business to help, or work for someone else for a while to learn and figure out a lot of the actual day to day operations in running a business.

The first year I presented at the CBC was Boston 2009, effectively launching Women Enjoying Beer. So it was enjoyable to be on the East coast again for the event.

Cheers to Julia & Abby for what they shared. When you want a marketing expert, advisor and coach for your beer business, call on me.

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Stout & Porter: What’s the Difference?

Having been asked what the difference between Porter and Stout style is again last weekend by a Oregon Chocolate Festival tasting workshop guest, I came across this document My Fine Husband shared with me. It’s courtesy of the Brewers Association Style Guide; MFH = Larry Chase, professional brewer. Hope this helps.

How Stout & Porter Differ

Disagreement abounds on the differences between stout and porter. Different answers arise depending on who you ask. The line between the two can be quite blurred and obscure. Often it’s what the brewer says it is. Two general differences tend to include:

  • Stout uses more roasted barley and black malt
  • Stout generally leans to black color while porters are dark brown to almost black

Brewers Association Style Guide

Robust Porter

Whatever it is, it'd delicious! Photo courtesy Kate Parks

Whatever it is, it’s delicious!
Photo courtesy Kate Parks

Often more bitter and roasted malt flavor than a brown porter, but not quite a stout. Robust porters have a roast malt flavor, often reminiscent of cocoa, but no roast barley flavor. Their caramel and malty sweetness is in harmony with the sharp bitterness of black malt. Hop bitterness is evident.

Brown Porter

Brown porters have no roasted barley or strong burnt/black malt character. Low to medium malt sweetness, caramel and chocolate is acceptable. Hop bitterness is medium.

Irish-Style Dry Stout

Dry stouts are black. These beers achieve a dry-roasted character through the use of roasted barley. The emphasis of coffee-like roasted barley and a moderate degree of roasted malt aromas define much of the character. Hop bitterness is medium to medium high.

English-Style Sweet/Milk Stout

Sweet stout, also referred to as cream stout, is black in color. Malt sweetness, chocolate, and caramel flavor should dominate the flavor profile and contribute to the aroma. They also should have a low to medium-low roasted malt/barley derived bitterness. milk sugar (lactose) lends the style more body.

English-Style Oatmeal Stout

The addition of oatmeal adds a smooth rich body to these craft beers. Oatmeal stouts are dark brown to black in color. A roasted malt character which is caramel-like and chocolate-like should be smooth and not bitter. Coffee-like roasted barley and malt aromas are prominent.

Imperial Stout

American-style imperial stouts are the strongest in alcohol and body of the stouts and black in color. These beers typically have an extremely rich malty flavor and aroma with full, sweet malt character. Bitterness can come from roasted malts or hops additions.

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Quality Is Queen

What’s on the collective mind of the professional beer community? Quality.

On the heels of the brewery explosion – which is still mushroom clouding – smart brewers and business people in the beer world realize and know quality is queen.

Deschutes is a great example of quality driven beer.

Deschutes is a great example of quality driven beer.

Here are a few indicators:

  1. Having been invited to be a panelist at the inaugural CIA Crafting Beer & Food Summit, Napa CA, we were asked to talk about the Business of Beer. Nicole Erny was right on in her comments and I’d echo the same: quality + business = success.
  2. Consistency is also queen. Inconsistency of brands which are supposed to be consistent is not the way to build a business nor a clever marketing ploy to promote a brewery’s beer. Inconsistency is different from variety and variation of beers that get the green light to vary.
  3. When an entry-level consumer tries a beer which is not to style or brand, then we’ve all f’d it up. That sort of experience is a tough one to overcome. Plus if the consumer likes the non-quality beer, then we’ve just warp speed damaged what the experience is supposed to be.
  4. The Brewers Association recently released the Quality Management Book, written by Mary Pellettieri – and gave a complementary copy to every BA member. PLUS they already had the Draught Quality Manual out for establishments pouring beer on draught.

Quality is queen. It should be, as a quality product should be the goal and daily driver of all businesses. There’s a lot of poor quality beer out there, created by brewers who are too blindly passionate to realize that poor quality beer brings everyone down and hurts the industry community.

Ground zero is you and me. As the buyer and consumer of beer, we must demand quality, get to know beer, and speak up for quality.

Rally time is here. Join me in the call for quality.

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What I Learned at the GABF This Year

The Great American Beer Festival is truly remarkable. It’s not in any way run-of-the-mill…unless the “mill” is an extraordinary machine of success.

It was my 12th ( I think) year attending the GABF. Over the years I’ve helped pour beer for a brewery, taken it in as media, and vended. This year included vending and being a media cred holder. Kudos to our famazing crew who made the WEB booth rock and roll: Diane G/Captain, Darcee/Cashier & Sales, Wendy/Sales, and Sarah/Sales. They made it all possible – thanks!

WEB crew ready for the throng of GABF'ers

WEB crew ready for the throng of GABF’ers

I learned from them that perspective can be too close to our own noses. We need to get other people engaged in what we do and try to best communicate what we can. Then we need to listen as they tell us in return what they know and heard. It’s a practice I totally enjoy and learn from – listening to one of my Fine Crew talk about WEB with others. It’s helpful as I pick up various ways to talk about the business and techniques of sales, conversation, and communication.

Learning was everywhere you could turn your head if you so desired. The Farm to Table event was uber tasty this year – extra fun was had since I have frolleague Kellie with me, meeting, eating, laughing, and talking. The Beer & Food Pavilion is an area of (minor) respite to listen to accomplished folks educate, people like Beervangelist Fred and Sarah Amorese of Piece, Love & Chocolate. The Pro-Am booth had beers created by homebrewers and brewed on pro equipment available for tasting – and up for an award too.

That’s just the tip of the jockey box too. The GABF affords enough happenings to keep you busy from when you arrive til last call. Grooving to the Silent Disco, sponsored by Oskar Blues, is a personal fav!

I’ll be back with more information on GABF and American Beer. As a credentialed member of the media this year, the Brewers Association and Visit Denver took very good care of us – making sure we had full and easy access to a wealth of educational information.

Keep learning no matter where you go and what you attend. I encourage you to thank those who organize and plan, execute and clean up well run events. Being savvy to their efforts makes the learning all the more rich.

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Keys To Business Success: Quality & Consistency

One of the primary keys to any business success is a true focus and commitment to quality. Another that goes hand in hand is consistency.

Great brands are built so the consumer can count on them.

In the beer world quality and consistency are talked about quite a bit. I think the conversation was jumped started a bit more when Paul Gatza, the Brewers Association, dropped the f bomb emphasizing quality import at the 2014 CBC.

Quality + Consistency = worthy brands

Quality + Consistency = worthy brands

I agree. If you choose not to fully dedicate to quality, get the F out. Of any business. The world has enough crap, enough sub par junk, more than enough mediocrity and middling service, enough detritus for us to float on for millenia. And yet some people, breweries included, still keep pumping out junk.

And no, this is not where anyone can trash ABI or SABMiller. Quality and consistency has helped them build their global branded businesses, keeping the experience for the consumer, the same every single time.

Sensory Analyst Lindsay Guerdrum, New Belgium Brewing, gave an enlightening and very thorough sensory talk at the 2014 CBC (lots to take in this year…as usual). I want to share a bit of what I took from her talk to this end.

  • Consistency + Quality = Key to Brand Success
  • You absolutely need to know your customer; You need to know who you’re responding to
  • “Make sure you’re shooting at the right target.”
  • Beer is inherently the variable, there is no gold standard
  • Aim for True To Brand; in lab speak – is it “Go” or “No Go”?
  • “N” can never = 1 on a sensory panel. You need 3+ people on panels

And in her summation, I’d stand up and shout YES:

Never stop training.

Thanks to Lindsay and New Belgium for continuing to set the pace for quality and consistency. People don’t call the brand Fat Tire (vs. New Belgium ) for nothing. They know what they’re doing.

Do you?

One comment

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All Conferences Are Not Created Equal

Today you may see me in a few airports then in the fine City of Denver, Colorado for the week. Tomorrow starts the 31st edition of the Craft Brewers Conference, put on by the Brewers Association hosted this year in the Mile High City.

Sky High view of Denver

Sky High view of Denver

I attend this conference every year, without fail, for business development, camaraderie, and education. It’s one of the biggies and has grown from 2400 attendees at my first one in 2009 to an anticipated crowd of 8900+ this year. Wow!

What does this conference hold for attendees, beyond the three attributes mentioned above?

  • World class people. Speakers, educators, and vendors. Connections are there for the making and it’s up to attendees to navigate and take full advantage of this unique super concentrated event to start and build relationships.
  • World class people and events. Every single moment of the week, no kidding, is overfull of happenings and the chance to connect and reconnect with friends and colleagues.
  • BrewExpo America Trade Show is chock full of literally hundreds of vendors, suppliers, growers, and service companies at the ready to talk, field questions and take orders.
  • Great City. Denver itself is a terrifically fun and engaging city to visit, stay and play. As a mecca for not only beer, the pedestrian friendly 16th Street Mall area with complementary bus, light rail and public bike share, myriad food and drink establishments, and world-class Museum are all attractive reasons.

I’ve spoken at a number of the conferences. In fact WEB launched publicly at the 2009 CBC in Boston, MA, to a standing room only audience. It’s a constant challenge to try to see, take in and talk to everyone you want.

Making time to view and plan the agenda, your plans and the lay of the land in advance is the best way to tackle this event, whether seasoned or as a first time guest.

Challenges notwithstanding, it’s a must attend for me. The coming together to so many incredibly plugged in people, helping each other, sharing information for the good of the whole, having a great time and sipping mighty fine beverages are more than enough reasons to go.

Education is the opportunity to improve your life. The CBC is one of those opportunities.

Hope to see you there with 8000+ of my friends – Cheers!

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Great American Beer Fun

If you were in Denver or the greater central Colorado area later last week, you’d have likely encountered people – lots of them – out to celebrate beer.

Two things were happening:

The Great State of Colorado loves beer!

The Great State of Colorado loves beer!

The 32nd annual Great American Beer Festival, hosted by the Brewers Association in the Colorado Convention Center. And Denver Beer Week hosted by Visit Denver. While I questioned the wisdom of adding an entire city celebration by Visit Denver a while back to add Beer Week in tandem with the GABF, it seems to be going smoothly.

Here are a few “wow!” factors to the GABF:

  • From 1982 with 800 attendees to 49,ooo in 2013
  • From 40 beers from 22 breweries to 4875 beers judged by 210 industry pros
  • 1100 of today’s breweries are brewpub from the approximate 2500+ breweries nationwide
  • Tickets for the recently concluded 2013 event sold out in 20 minutes

How do we know this info? Well, as credentialed media at the event, we’re given the royal educational treatment. It’s good for everyone to share the mash with those who help bring it forward. And while media is only one facet of WEB, it’s a big part of helping us stay up to date on the industry.

With 49,000 guests + loads of volunteers and workers at the Convention Center AND the myriad colleagues it’s a week loaded with great times, vast flavors, and engaging opportunities to celebrate American beer.

Great American Beer Festival indeed. See you there, again, next year!

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2012 GABF Media Luncheon Musings

With a nod to the new year and Julia, I want to reflect on the 2012 GABF Media Luncheon menu today. It’s a piece of paper that I keep and read periodically with fondness and a Pavlovian-like mouth-watering response upon reading it.

Table set up at the GABF Media Luncheon

As we start into a new year, we want to continue to encourage all eaters of drink and food to explore, expand and change your own boundaries of what beer and food together can do.

The Luncheon had 6 delicious courses, all featuring at least one beer with the foods. Ready for this?

Welcome: Paparazzi Pale, brewed by Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program, Brewers Association & Brainless on Peaches, Epic Brewing

Appetizer: Braised Pork Belly paired with Telegraph Brewing Company’s California Ale.

Intermezzo: Pumpkin Sorbet made with Breckenridge Autumn Ale paired with Vida y Muerte by 5 Rabbit Brewery

Entrée (carnivore): Colorado Lamb Shank braised with Odell Cuttthroat Porter paired with La Cumbre Elevated IPA and Catawba Valley Le Saison Noire

Dessert: Apple crepes paired with Flying Fish Exit 4 and Maui Brewing & Dogfish Collaboration Liquid Breadfruit beer

Cheese Course: Buratta paired with Founders Blushing Monk

Pure deliciousness!

Thanks the Saints of the Tastebuds!!! Everything was interesting to try, some courses resonated louder than others – all of it was very well done by the host and hotel kitchen staff.

I’m always appreciative of being able to attend the luncheon for a number of reasons. First being that I can and do pass this information forward – continuing the education of beer, beer and food, and experience that we can all benefit from. I also seriously look forward to seeing so many friends and colleagues at this luncheon. And as an avid cook myself, it’s a great stimulus for my own pursuits…which invariably make it into our presentations, this site and various other edutainment outlets.

So this year make a pledge to yourself to try, try and try again. The best case scenario is you learn a lot. The worst – you get to try again! Cheers ~

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GABF 2012…On Your Mark, Get Ready…GO!

Denver’s a great place to visit and I love being in Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival. It’s an extraordinary one for many reasons.

  1. It’s where you get to see many of beer friends, enthusiasts and colleagues
  2. The sheer numbers of beers you can try on the festival floor is mind boggling…more on numbers after the incredelicious Media Luncheon tomorrow.
  3. The hospitality of the City of Denver is open armed and exuberant
  4. The geography is gorgeous

Dona, Ginger & Tina at The Cheeky Monk for "Thank The Saints!" event 10/9

That’s the short list. And since WEB is moving into our Industry Sponsor space today, with the first session starting tonight, we’re ready to have the gates open and the people coming in!

We’ve already had a successful women and beer event at The Cheeky Monk – more great people passionate about beer, community and making their dreams come alive. Much to the delight of taste buds everywhere.

Thanks to the Brewers Association for making it easy to be part of the fest. A big THANKS to my crew this year too – Emily, Diane, & Sarah.

Here we go – see you soon!

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Descending on Denver

Are you also either in Denver or Descending on Denver, Colorado USA this week? There’s much ado about beer happening in that mile high city this week.

If you see the WEB van on the road, honk & wave!

We’re happily busy with all kinds of things – check out our schedule surrounding the Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

Highlights will include:

  • Thank the Saints! 10/9, 7 – 9 pm, The Cheeky Monk, Colfax Location, Denver CO. Premier Women’s Only event. Call them for tickets.
  • GABF – we’re booth 135, here’s our line up. Come see us! We’ve got a full line up of goods & goodies to treat yourself too (they make splendid gifts too)
  • Twisted Tastes event, 10/13, 930 – 11 am, Twisted Pine Brewery, Boulder, CO. Delicious event open to all (over 21). Call them for tickets.

We’ve got gobs of great industry & media things on the agenda too, thanks to various hosts including the Brewers Association, Visit Denver and other beerific folks.

See you soon at Booth 135 and all the others!

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KSKQ Beer Radio: Chris Swersey, Brewers Association (6/20/12)

Learn about beer with conversations of people from all over the beer community on KSKQ 89.5 each Wednesday, 5:00-6:00 pm.

BeerRadio for 20 June 2012 – Chris Swersey, of the Brewers Association based in Boulder CO, is our special guest tonight. As a long time member of the beer community, Chris got his start in the beer world by home brewing and has never looked back.

From being a ‘keg monkey’ to beer judging, from rafting to being integral to some major beer competitions (GABFWBC), Chris is an exemplary example of the incredible folk in the beer community.

Pour yourself a tasty glass of beer and enjoy ~

Download Here: 43.6 MB

This program originally broadcast on KSKQ 89.5 FM in Ashland, Oregon – streamed at KSKQ.org.

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SAVORING Oregon Beer & Cheese

If you were able to attend SAVOR last weekend, you’d know it was a tastebud heaven focused on American beer & matching foods. Delicious is what we’d call it!

Happy and accomplished brewers Larry of Standing Stone (l) and Matt of Oakshire(r) at SAVOR Salon 2012

Ginger had the pleasure of moderating a few Salons, added value special sessions, Friday night. As promised to the crowd, here’s the menu of the early session Friday June 8th.

Perfect opportunity to keep the elevation of beer moving forward. Ideal flavor exploration opportunity. Stunning setting (National Building Museum).

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KSKQ Beer Radio: Andy Sparhawk, Brewers Association (5/16/12)

Learn about beer with conversations of people from all over the beer community on KSKQ 89.5 each Wednesday, 5:00-6:00 pm.

BeerRadio for 16 May 2012 – Special beery guest, Andy Sparhawk,Craft Beer Program Coordinator of the Brewers Association, Boulder, CO.

Learn about this passionate advocate of craft beer, if he’s a homebrewer (or not!), and how he ‘uses’ food in relation to enjoying beer. Andy’s another great example of the professional plugged in beer community who is a superb ambassador for quality beer made by America’s small and independent breweries.

Cheers to Andy this week ~

Download Here: 40.7 MB

This program originally broadcast on KSKQ 89.5 FM in Ashland, Oregon – streamed at KSKQ.org.

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Stats and Information from the Brewers Association

What associations and organizations are you supporting? What groups claim you as a member?

One of the organizations that we are members of is the Brewers Association. One thing I like about them is that they provide plentiful and easily accessible information. Yesterday I got a mailer with updated ‘good stuff’ so I want to share some of it today.

Not a member yet? It’s worth while if you are a consumer who enjoys beer, a business in the beer community, a brewery, or a distributor. As with any membership, you get out of it what you put into it too.

  • US Beer Market = $101 Billion
  • 203,576,450 Barrels of Beer
  • 1753 breweries in operation for some or all 2012, the highest number since the late 1800’s
  • Well over 100,000 jobs surround the beer community in the USA (including the fabulous service staff of pubs)

Other Beer Related Resources We Recommend:

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The Importance of Beer and Food Together

How beers interface and partner with foods is a big component to educating women (and men) about beer. Since we all have to eat and we all need to hydrate, linking the two in an enjoyable fashion is always going to be an effective way to teach people about beer.

How do you do this?

1. Start with a flavor conversation. What kind of flavors does a person like – and make sure the expanse is wide open, not just focused on beer flavors. The power of suggestion here is huge. Get the discussion started with “do you like bananas?” or “do you like coffee?” – talk about flavors that are distinct, although they don’t need to be enormous flavors. Subtle flavors speak to many people as well so suggest a few of those too.

Beer...and citrus pairing? YES! Photo by Kate Parks

2. Move to what kinds of foods they like. The base of the flavor conversation will give you a great stepping off point and once you ask this food question, you’re bound to be able to suggest some beer pairings with the foods they already like. And when you start with foods they profess to already like, you’re going in the direction they already want to go: to enjoy those foods.

3. Once you know flavors and foods, suggest a small variety of beers to go with them. Keep in mind that while humans may have some common ground for popular flavors, never assume they will or won’t like something until they try it. Kind of like an adult cutting off the opportunity for a kid to try something  – “oh honey, you won’t like that.” Don’t color their possibilities with your preferences. Give them the chance to discover and decide.

4. Our taste buds change with time. From wanting super sugar sweet things when we’re young to wanting very spicy when we’re older. Be mindful of the general age range of the person you are trying to help.

The Brewers Association Media Luncheon during the Great American Beer Festival is one of my favorite events to go to. Beyond the blindingly incredible fare and pairings, what I really gain from it is new ideas and the opportunity to expand my thinking so I can share that forward. As educators it’s important for WEB to know more of the “why” specific beers and foods go together – or don’t – when we pair.

Women want flavor. They want to learn how to pair beer and food. And they want to be able to duplicate that experience and share it with others.

Exploration and then education is the key here. When you pair beer with food, you create stronger affinity and repeat business. Begin today.

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The Fest of The Best

Are you planning on attending the Great American Beer Festival , aka ‘the GABF,’ this week?

Help Celebrate Great American Beer!

If you are, be very sure to come by our booth, 125, across from section J at the Denver Convention Center. We’ll be there with a booth full of smiles, enthusiastic women who enjoy beer (although they won’t be partaking while working) and ready to greet you.

The van is loaded with WEB shirts, hats, repurposed grain bags, and other goodies to sell and help spread the word that women do in fact very much enjoy beer. So we’re hitting the road.

Look for a big white cargo van with our signature round logo on the sides. Honk if you like – we’ll wave. Twitter that you saw us or leave a comment on our facebook page on where you saw us.

We’ll be in Salt Lake City tonight – so if you live there be on the watch!

Cheers to one of the most well attended, well run, and lively beer festivals in our fine nation. Looking forward to seeing you soon –

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Heading to SAVOR 2011

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.

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The Power of Social Media around Craft Beer

With permission from Andy at the BA, I wanted to share the following information. It’s emphasizing the power of outreach and specifically the use of social media in conjunction with a craft beer celebration, American Craft Beer Week.

If you are in doubt in any way – either as a professional or as a consumer – that social media is a fad, un-useful or otherwise moot, think again. Also realize the true galvanization that happens when people are after a common goal: the advancement of craft beer.

Hi All,

Thank you to the hundreds of breweries, distributors and retailers that helped make this year’s American Craft Beer Week (May 16-22, 2011) the largest ever. The endless stream of tweets, Facebook posts and media hits echoed exactly what the week is all about. This is a grassroots recognition and celebration of today’s beer lovers and small and independent craft brewers, hand crafted beers, and the proud and vibrant craft beer culture we enjoy today.

Attn: ACBW or mail to American Craft Beer Week, 736 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302.

Cheers to ACBW & Social Media

For 2011 we’ve documented some amazing media coverage/mentions via Delicious including:
ABC News Chicago, Fox & Friends Sunday morning feature, USA Today, Food & Wine, Washington Post, and so many more stories/features/coverage/interviews/member press releases/etc.

Additionally, below are some social media stats that were collected surrounding the week:

  • CraftBeer.com (Official ACBW Site)
    -CraftBeer.com received 1,521 ACBW event posts from hundreds of craft breweries and retailers
  • Facebook
    – The American Craft Beer Week Facebook page has 36,508 likes as of May 23, 2011.

*Twitter Keyword Searches # of mentions.

  • “ACBW”
  • – 3,502 (Past 7 Days), 4,239 (Past 30 Days)
  • “American Craft Beer Week”
    – 3,832 (Past 7 Days), 5,543 (Past 30 Days)

*Web Keyword Searches # of mentions “ACBW”.

  • – 2,947 (Past 7 Days), 3,339 (Past 30 Days)
  • “American Craft Beer Week”
    – 2,738 (Past 7 Days), 3,716 (Past 30 Days)
  • *Keyword source results from Topsy on May 23, 2011

More than 15,500 people have viewed the American Craft Beer Week video since February 22, 2011. Plus 5,000 users unlocked the American Craft Beer Week badge on Untapped.com

Thanks to all who celebrated/leveraged the week and start planning NOW for the 2012 American Craft Beer Week, which will be May 14-20.

Julia Herz
Brewers Association/ CraftBeer.com
[email protected]

Andy Sparhawk
[email protected]

Craft Beer Program/Brewers Association

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