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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GABF 2014

Wow – it’s already around the corner: Great American Beer Festival 2014.

Welcome to GABF 2014!

Welcome to GABF 2014!

If you’ve never been and are headed there for the first time, welcome to the crazy, tasty fray! Bring a water bottle to refill and hydrate between delicious beer, eat a solid meal shortly BEFORE you arrive, and practice moderation. It’s for everyone’s enjoyment and drunkenness isn’t appropriate nor the gist of the fest. The fest is for everyone – not renegade’s overdrinking & ripping around and ruining it for others.

We invite you to come visit our Women Enjoying Beer booth – space P7 this year. It’s a bright orange, lit up booth where we’ll be glad to help you find high quality goods to wear and share. Women’s & men’s goods, caps & hats, signs and goodies.

With so many choices for your wallet, GABF proves to be a zinger. It’s a at-least-once-in-a-lifetime event to take advantage of. Friends familiar and to meet, colleagues, pros, homebrewers, vendors, and volunteers. World class events take a mammoth effort and it’s one we look forward to annually.

WEB will also be hosting our weekly BeerRadio program from Black Shirt Brewing Wednesday 10/1 6 – 7 MST. The taproom opens at 5 so feel free to come by for a fresh beer and watch the show in progress.

See you in Denver ~

Visit the GABF site here

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2014 Marketing Beer To Women Workshop: Invite

Immediately prior to GABF this fall, I’m giving another free workshop that specifically addresses marketing beer to the world’s largest and most influential population: Women.
Free Marketing Beer To Women Workshop, pre GABF

Free Marketing Beer To Women Workshop, pre GABF

Ready to step up your marketing to successfully address the primary buyers of all goods and services in America? Reserve your seat today. If you’ve been to my presentations before, you’ll know they are lively, full of immediately usable information, well worth your time and will help you increase your business. Ask those who attended the sold-out one pre-CBC this year if you wish….

With the continued growth of the industry and increased choices for the consumer, you need to know how to reach the most valuable buyer around: Women.
Women + Beer = Success. If the goal is 20% market share of small American Brewers by 2020, it’s time to look at the population that will support this growth: women. There’s still much to do to totally tap into the female beer buyer and consumer with full respect to their brains and taste buds. The 20/20 Vision would include seeing women in every phase and facet of your brand development.
The workshop is free and space is very limited. Serious people are invited to contact me directly (not Black Shirt Brewing) to save your seat. This event is for professionals in the industry: breweries, distributors, vendors, growers, suppliers, retailers, journalists…. everyone who has a vested interest in marketing to women correctly.
Details:
Wednesday October 1st, 2 – 4 pm.
Black Shirt Brewing, 3719 Walnut Street, Denver CO
FREE!
Beer: Thanks to The Neenan Company, all attendees will get a free fresh First Pint of Black Shirt beer.
Buy your own additional beer & food (to each, your own tab!) – there may be a delicious food truck available…
RSVP’s required, limited seating
Call Ginger to save your seat 515.450.7757 PST, week day daytime calls only, no emails
First reserve, first sat. We’ll create a wait list as necessary – and it’ll fill up fast.
Neenan JPG LogoThe workshop will include information from reports based on the 2012 Women + Beer Survey, immediately useful marketing beer to women insight, and there will be plenty of time to ask questions. Please be prompt.
Thank you. See you soon –

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What Makes Your Festival Special?

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.

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International National Festival

Which one is it? Thankfully many festivals are both. They’re located in a country of origin AND they recruit judges from other places to provide a varied and therefore widely competent panel.

Judging is such a final word. So striving for a balance of opinions, morals, preferences, knowledge, thoughts, and agendas is really critical to get a equilibrium in any judging situation. We’re still human and we still let our own thoughts come through, however obvious or subtle they may manifest.

The GABF is one example of a well balanced judging of the beers. It is after all a competition. The 2011 GABF estimated that 4000 beers would be judged  by 170+ judges from all over the globe. 400 beers! Whew! Being well acquainted with some of the judges I can share that it’s truly a dedicated and challenging endeavor. It goes way beyond what they think about what is in the glass. Partially because they have to reach consensus all the way around for a beer to advance. So this process also involves diplomacy, articulation and professional decorum.

They also added new judging categories this year:

  • Fruit Wheat Beer
  • Chocolate Beer
  • American-style Brett Ale (interesting – no lagers per Brett?)
  • International-style pale Ale

Local festival, international judges. That’s how you host an International National Festival. I say cheers to that!

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Great Aspirations Come True

“The Great American Beer Festival has come a long was since its humble beginnings in 1982 as an offshoot of the 4th annual National Homebrew and Microbrewery Conference. Nevertheless, if the name is any indication, its aspirations were great, and over 30 years, the events has grown from 800 attendees to 49,000 and from a 5,000 square foot festival hall to one closer to 300,000 square feet.”

Brewers Association media info, ala GABF

Two GABF goer's that'd agree its a 'great' festival!

Great aspirations can yield poor overblown unplanned failure. Great aspirations need to have some thought behind them. Because great aspirations can also create smashing success.

The GABF is a premium example of thoughtfulness – not that any of the progenitors of the event could have foreseen its success. With sound decision making as part of the process, aspirations can be come realities.

Cheers to the Brewers Association, the brewers, the beer community, sponsors, vendors, workers, volunteer army and attendees – they all make this truly remarkable festival tick tock every year.

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A Few Great Aspects of the 2011 GABF

1. It’s well attended by people all over the USA who are enthusiastic about beer.

2. The 2011 festival celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Great American Beer Festival.

3. The event is very well run by the Brewers Association.

4. There were over 2400 beers presented by 465 breweries (winners here).

5. The Colorado Convention Center, while very loud like most such places, is spacious for this event.

6. There were and always are plentiful staffers from the BA and the CCC, to help facilitate the festival.

7. The weather for revelers was ideal (think standing in line is non rainy weather).

8. Zero Hero helped green up the event – and it’s not the first year they’ve been a part of the big festival picture.

9. We get to plan and look forward to the 31st GABF in 2012.

As the days unfold we’ll share more information about the GABF that was for 2011. It’s worth noting that while we’ll share what has already happened, we’ll also provide insight as to how this all matters going forward.

Cheers to Great American Beer!

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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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Advice To A Novice GABF Consumer

From one of our great consumer enthusiasts and supporters:

Hi Ginger,

Enjoying summer here, and just about to bottle the stout [she’s a homebrewer]. I am having the ladies come over for a bottling party next week…. Which brings me to my GABF question – I see that GABF tickets went on sale, and I want to purchase tickets before they sell out. What nights/days do you suggest I purchase (and also encourage the ladies to purchase as well)?

Come join us at the GABF!!

Hope you are doing well, and enjoying the summer!

My response:

Happy 1st of July!!

Good to hear from you. Have fun bottling. Would love to join you for a bottling in the future.

GABF: Thursday = night the geeks are out, best beer selection since everything is just tapped (no outs).
Friday: Working class is out for the night to start their weekend, mostly well controlled fun crowd.
Saturday: College partiesque. Awards have been given = several beers are out due to that and just the popular ones are out.
If I was a newbie – I’d go Thursday, or maybe Friday. It’s about really enjoying the beer, not getting schnockered anyway.

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Tasty Trifecta Event last night at Oskar Blues

Beth and Luke of OBB - such huge help!

Thanks to the entire Oskar Blues Crew for a fantastic event venue and help last night. Chelly and were able to offer a unique women’s only Beer & Cheese & Dessert tasting event at their taproom. Beth, Luke, Burc, Melissa, Dale and everyone else who makes the place tick – pints up!

Thanks equally to the fantastic group of women beer enthusiasts that came out – judging by the conversation and laughter level, I’d say it was a success! They had the choice of 6 different beers from both Oskar Blues as well as tasty Left Hand Beers. One the food side, Chelly selected delicious cheeses from a favorite cheese monger and sweets from Living the Sweet Life – both in Denver.

Chelly (l) providing helpful information for the event

We lead them through  a simple how to taste exercises to warm them up and get them started – then off they went!

The evening closed with Beth, the taproom manager, leading a tour of the brewery – newly expanded and looking fabulous for our great guests.

Cheers of course goes to Left Hand brewing and their crew for pitching in three uber yummy beers for the event as well.

Hats off to Ingrid, our intrepid and dedicated volunteer assistant for the night – well done!

And my own personal thanks to the incredible Chelly for her partnership. She has excellent judgment.

Now – on to more GABF events….Cheers!

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Update Today

Good Weekend All –

Thanks to those of you who came to the WEB event this past Thursday – by candle light, we enjoyed gluten free & vegetarian beverages and foods. 2 Beers, 2 Ciders, almond cheese and…well, check out the menu here.

Congrats to the fine women who enjoy beer who won the WEB logoed hats to proudly sport! You can get the hats (100% organic cotton) and more Beer Gear here. The first shirts are just in – more really soon! Including some for the guys “Men Enjoying Women Enjoying Beer”

An extra-good goodie today: I found this video to be encouraging. Speak up for your craft beer!

The Great American Beer Festival starts this Thursday. It’s an extra ordinary event! Plan to attend some time in the future – and get your tickets early as they sell out quickly.

And be sure to put the October WEB event on your – and your males friends’ – calendars. It’s the Come As A Woman event! If you’re a woman, you’re set. If you’re a man, dress as a woman and come enjoy the event too. No more whining – “what about us guys??!!” from the men – here’s their shot! Reservations can be made here until 10/12 – thanks.

See you soon!

Cheers –

Ginger

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Two Signature Events During the 2010 Great American Beer Festival

Wanted to share 2 really fun events coming up in Colorado in September. If you feel compelled to share them, that’s always appreciated.

The first event is Wednesday September 15th in Longmont Colorado at Oskar Blues Brewing. Myself and the incredible Chelly Vitry, of Denver Gourmet Tours, are putting together a superb Women’s event with Oskar Blues BreweryThe Tasty Trifecta! Beautiful Beer, Sumptuous Sweets and Creamy Cheese beer and food tasting event. They are graciously hosting the event and providing their tasty beers – we’ll be pairing them with cheeses and desserts. If you’ve never tried it, here’s your opportunity!

Full details and ticket availability can all be found here, on this link.

The second event is the Gastravaganza! Beautiful Beer & Street Food event – held at the gracious host Breckenridge Brewery (who’s beer will also be featured). The Gastravaganza (great word, eh?!) is a oh-so-tasty 6 course beer and food pairing.

We’ve got 6 high quality breweries involved: Wynkoop, Avery, Lefthand, Breckenridge, Odell, Ska and Del Norte happily participating. The food is an equal match of terrific high quality choices: Steuben’s, Cupcake Truck, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, Pinche Taco, Deluxe Burger, and the Gastro Cart.

Women & men welcome and encouraged. If you love beer, this is a great chance to come out and savor a lovely evening with friends (grab several!). If you love food, it’s a fantastic chance to wrap your lips around some of Denver’s finest street food. If you love both, well, it’s nirvana! (plentiful parking for cars and bikes too)

Full details and tickets can be found here on the site.

We’d love to see you join us – and you can buy tickets now! Plan on one or both and get out and enjoy the remarkable opportunities Central Colorado has to offer.

Thanks for your time, attention and and spread.

Cheers!

Ginger & Chelly

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Gastravaganza in Denver – Delicious Beer & Tasty Street Food Event

Wow! Who’s up for a Gastravaganza in Denver Colorado September 18th, 7- 9 pm?!

Gastravanganza!

Details and tickets available here – on Chelly’s site.

Chelly’s Denver Gourmet Tours and Women Enjoying Beer is collaborating and partnering with terrific breweries and street food vendors to offer a totally unique and tasty adventure.

Our terrific Featured Beers will come from Avery Brewing, Wynkoop Brewing, Breckenridge Brewery, Left Hand Brewing, Del Norte Brewing and Odell Brewing.

Fabulous tasty Street Food will be from Steuben’s, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs, Gastro Cart, Brava Pizza, and Cake Crumbs Cupcake Truck.

We’ve room for up to 300 – so sign up today. It’s happening the same week as Denver Beer Week and Great American Beer Festival (a don’t miss beer event).

Cheers – see you there!

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GABF: Worth Examining

p1020795Had the distinct pleasure of being filmed at the GABF this past week. A HUGE shout out of thanks to Jake, Nikki, Justin and the entire crew. It was a ball and a great place to spread the gospel of beer to women.

Take a look and listen here.

Good reading as well – per the winners list. I would venture a strong opinion that most every brewery who was there won. As did the festival goers.

Cheers!

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GABF Day 3

p1020824So far, it’s been a jammed packed festival. As always, it’s extremely dynamic, busy and fun. My conundrum is this.

There is SO MUCH information to share that I’ll need to  pass it along, parcel it out gradually. Julia, Jill, Bradley, Chris, Gary, Nancy, Andy, Paul, Charlie, Mark, Erin and all the rest…what an incredibly engaged and amazing group of people.

Media Luncheon, Farm To Table, tasting, meeting, connect, Pints for Prostates, PBS, Siebel, etc. Whew!

So today’s tidbit is this.

The festival increased its floor space by 46% this year. When cruising the first night, Thursday, it felt bigger and we noticed right away.

  • The aisles are wider and more accommodating
  • The congestion in front of the can’t-miss-this-beer booths easier to navigate due to increased space
  • And in general an excellent change

More beers, more space, more revelers, more people enjoying beer.

Having been on the other side of the booth in the past, I’d venture a guess the breweries really appreciated the extra space too.

More soon.

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Boulder, Avery and Great Women

C.V. and I at Avery tonight

C.V. and me at Avery tonight

Colorado looks great to me! Terrific beer, great people and mountains. Really I could die happy now (although I’d like to be around a bit longer).

We met up with C.V. at Avery per his shout out per the tour. He showed us all the amazing casks, happily maturing (my mouth is watering…). Brett’s are some of my absolute favorite beers…so lush, varied, flavorful and down right delicious.  Wine drinkers would definitely enjoy these kinds of beers. C.V. let us sample what we wanted and we tried 5 beers total. They’re in the throes of the GABF and all the ensuing robust enthusiastic traffic ala Beer.

A big thanks to him for his hospitality and the beers. See you again in Denver.

Also – what else – good women drinking beer.  Leah’s a home brewer with a beer entered in the Pro-Am competition at the GABF. We got to talk to her and Denise, both really engaged, happy beer drinkers. They live in Louisville and definitely enjoy thier beers

Denise, Leah & I at Avery

Denise, Leah & me at Avery

and all the flavors the vast range of beers have to offer.

In fact she’ll tap into a batch or two of beers that, once again, made my mouth water. Denise and Leah – be sure to get in touch when you’ll be tapping them. It’d surely be worth the trip to Kentucky.

Note: With the GABF fully on there was a really good mix of genders at the Avery Taproom enjoying beer. Keep in mind, beer is genderless; it’s about an opportunity more than anything.

After all, it’s all for the love of beer.

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Odell's

odell-brewing-company-2Beers up to Corkie, Doug, Wynne & the entire crew – they continue to set a solid example of best practices.

Focus group input repeatedly tells me that women like businesses who display authentic responsibility – social, environmental, ethical. This fits.

I only wish I could get their beers when I live. SIGH. Guess I’ll have to chalk that up as a reason to travel to them…even if I have to wait for the Great American Beer Festival this September (I’ll be in Denver again for it this year.)

The great thing about that is Colorado is jam packed with great beers.

Photo courtesy of Flickr by HeroJH

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Upcoming Happenings

A few things today:

An Invite = a BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer) to share and enjoy at my home, April 16th, before the upcoming Beer Wars Movie.
The show, which is a very cool live broadcast from L.A., will be shown in TONS of places nationwide. You can get a full theatre listing online (‘screenings’ button).

Great American Beer Festival 2008

Great American Beer Festival 2008

We’ll be here (central Iowa) from 530 – 630 – the movie starts at 7 pm – to get into the spirit of things.
Women & Men welcome – RSVP to me directly please for full details.
(P.S. – a professional brewer will be on hand at the BYOB as a bonus!)

The Beer Wars Movie event will supplant the next Women Enjoying Beer (WEB) group for April. We’ll be back on schedule with a May 14th  WEB meetup featuring Dave Coy, Brewer of Raccoon River Brewing, location to be determined as we get closer. Dave’s a good guy and an adept brewer who really takes pride in his beer.

Late April will find me in Boston, Mass, USA enjoying & presenting to the Craft Brewers Conference per “Where’s The Other 50%!? Developing and Serving the Female Craft Beer Enthusiast.” WOO HOO!!!

As always, the virality of these invites is important. Please feel very free to forward to any engaged women who enjoy beer, want to learn more about beer, and have fun to doing it. Humble thanks to those who forward them along.

Stay in touch.

Cheers!

Ginger

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