09 Mar You Tell ‘Em Tuesday – Let Breweries Know You’re There For Them At Festivals
As craft beverage fans, you look to your favorite producers to bring you products you love and you look for new producers to expand your craft universe. They teach you about styles, they teach you their stories, and they teach you about quality and innovation. However, you teach them things too.
You teach craft artisans what you like and don’t like by how and where you spend your dollars. When a new beer or new style comes out, you teach them if they should continue that direction by how many pints are ordered. Your comments on social media may be helpful in directing their activities, but as is so often the case, a small population can have an inordinate effect by being very vocal. What we need is for you to make your opinions known, and also make known your desire to help them out.
You will find a series of questions below that breweries/wineries/distilleries must deal with when deciding about festivals. Read through them and decide where you stand and what you’d be willing to do. Then tell them. You can comment on any or all of them at the end of this piece or on the social media shares from Indiana On Tap. Even better, you can make your wishes known directly to your favorite brewery/distillery/winery. Message them on social media. Call them. Email your contact at the taproom. Tell your server. Heck, if it’s easier, just tell us and we’ll tell them.
Your input is important, and now more than ever, your interactions with them can drive their participation at festivals.
1. If infection/death numbers and vaccinations continue on their current divergent paths, will you likely attend craft beer festival(s) this summer/fall? Let your favorite producers know that you are looking forward to festivals, and to seeing them at festivals.
2. Some breweries would be more likely to participate in festivals if they could pour from cans, as they are more hygienic and require less equipment. Are you OK with it when breweries pour from cans at festivals?
3. Many breweries don’t know that it is legal to sell packaged beer at festivals, just as distilleries and wineries sell packaged spirits and wine at events. Would you be open to/apt to buy package beer at a festival? Tell them so, it might them more likely to participate.
4. Coming out of the pandemic, one of the major challenges for breweries, distilleries, and wineries at festivals is adequate staffing. If you’re a regular or a big fan, would you be willing to obtain a volunteer pourer’s license (very small fee + online training) and help out your favorite craft beverage vendor by pouring for them at a festival and talking up their product and story?
5. One great way to attend festivals is to volunteer. By doing so, you are helping the organizers, the city, charity, or non-profit that are associated with the festivals, all the different kinds of vendors, and the attendees. Many producers would be more likely to host a festival of their own if they knew they could get enough volunteers. If you want to volunteer, contact local organizers (Indiana On Tap, Brewers of Indiana Guild, or organizers of specific events) or your local producers to let them know.
6. Another reason that craft producers are willing to pour at festivals is because it could draw patrons to their taproom. But the pandemic reduced people’s travels and weakened that reason for producers to participate. In this improving environment, are you more likely to travel to find new breweries/distilleries/wineries? Would their participation in festivals help you decide to go visit them? You can be visible in your travels by posting on social media and liking them – that tells them that people are getting out there more.
7. Producers may participate in festivals to make you aware of their products so you will seek them out at package stores and in bars/restaurants. During the pandemic, restaurants/bars reduced their tap offerings, but they will be ramping up in the near future. Will you be going out more to find beers at restaurants/bars and will look for beers from people you saw at festivals? Post those drink selfies and tell your favorite places that you found them at a certain restaurant/bar.
Conclusion. Relationships require communication and it has to go both ways. By telling producers that you want to see them at festivals and reinforcing that by letting them know that you would be willing to help them out by volunteering, pouring, buying at festivals, etc., you help make going to festivals a better decision for them and easier for them. Call, write, talk, post – let them know you’re there for them.