Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries

July 17, 2013

Beer Diary:


A few brewers are pissed they didn’t get into this year’s GABF.
by Eddie Glick

I like my beer like my women: pale, strong, full-bodied, and extremely bitter.
Contact Eddie»
I thought this recent BeerPulse item was interesting:
“On Tuesday [July 9], the Brewers Association opened brewery registration for The Great American Beer Festival. Each year, the registration list fills up within days. Last year, it only took two days for 580 breweries to sign up.

This year, however, it only took less than two hours for 600 breweries.

Those who planned their Tuesday morning around the signup time and successfully filled out the form gained entry into this year’s event. Many others missed out and were left with the option of a waiting list … ”
Read the full article here. And make sure to read the comments. While I’ll eschew the whole karmic laughter some beer drinkers who have been unceremoniously shut out of an exclusive event (ahem, Dark Lord Day) might be experiencing (I’m not superstitious, so karma does not apply to me, knock on wood), I would like to point out this one tweet from a brewer in particular:
“1/2: Unfortunately we were consumed w/ brewery work this morning as opposed 2 sittin in front of r comps refreshing the screen.”
Um, I hate to break it to all the craft brewers out there who were “too busy with brewery work” to register, but in the new world of craft brewing (there’s, what, almost 3000 breweries in America now?), this is brewery work. I agree it has nothing to do with actually making great beer, but if you want that giant shot of buzz that winning a medal at the GABF provides, you gotta jump through the hoops to get in.

Before anyone (assuming anyone’s actually reading this) freaks out, yes, I understand the GABF is, unlike most beer festivals, more an industry event than a consumer one, meaning it’s more about the brewers in attendance (or at least their beer) than it is about everyday beer dorks sampling the attending brewers’ wares. And I also understand that it takes a lot of planning and hard work for brewers to attend the GABF. But the reason brewers bitterly want to be included in the festival is because of the beer judging competition, i.e. the chance at winning the lottery a medal, i.e. getting that free publicity that, literally you cannot buy.

I’ll always be in independently owned craft brewers’ corners—and, to be fair, a lot of brewers were more than pragmatic about the whole thing—but I don’t really want to hear the lamentations of beer makers not getting into the GABF and being denied a chance at becoming the next darlings of the [insert contrived beer style here]. If you’re a brewer who says, “Screw the GABF, I’m just making good beer,” then I applaud you, heartily. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

Re: the tweet you quoted. Uh, yeah, the rest of us have lives too, brewers. We don't have hours of free time to spend monitoring the next release of KBS and then tracking down where it might actually be found, or camping out overnight to get tickets for the Great Taste of the Midwest, or sitting in a parking lot for 3 hours because 3 Floyds won't allow any standing in their bar. Liking the taste of your own medicine?
posted by madgal72 | July 17, 2013, 10:02 AM
Can't contact you another way. Good story.
Seems you are fading. Maybe expand just a bit and review some beers available in the midwest. all the New Glaurus stuff is good if one lives in WI, but in IN, where we can't get Three Floyds because of dickhead state law, there is stuff from Brooklyn, Smuttynose, Southern Tier, 6 Point (cheap shot - it doesn't carry the weight of the pricetag), and many others on the shelves & in the coolers.
Little help, please.
All your guidance has been great to date.
Thank you.
posted by Doug Alley | July 17, 2013, 3:55 PM
I agree that doing stuff like registering for GABF is brewery work. With the 3,000 breweries in America, marketing is nearly as important as brewing a quality beer. Now, nobody said the brewmaster had to do the registration, but surely most breweries that are of the size that would be able to have staff members go to GABF for several days have a marketing person on staff, or on contract that they could have assigned registration duties to.

I do get that registration was available for two days last year, so brewers may not have felt it was as urgent to sign up RIGHT NOW, but it should come as no surprise that a fest that's so popular would be, well, popular.
posted by Mitch | July 18, 2013, 10:37 PM

Drinkin’ And Thinkin’

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