In the last two years we have attended well over 50 events. That might sound like a small number to some people but when you factor in the fact that 90% of these events are on the weekends and 60% of them are between April and July it’s a lot! Our weekends have been pretty full-on and we have met and spoken with A LOT of people. Literally thousands of people. KW Ribfest has over 20 000 people annually and we both worked all three days so we’ve spoken to heaps of people at Victoria Park alone.
We love going to the events ourselves whenever possible. We enjoy meeting people, telling our story and introducing them to our beers. We like learning about what attracts people to craft beer. A lot of crafty peeps say it’s the variety others say it’s the quality and many love to support small local brewers. There are lots of other reasons as well, creativity, branding, accessibility, community involvement, the list goes on and on.
I can honestly say that being a part of the craft beer culture was a big reason why we entered this industry. We love to talk about craft beer and the industry. Not in a hoity toity way. That’s not us. Truly.
Robin has lots of opinions on beer and it’s his belief that everyone’s palate is different, that everyone has their individual preferences and that just because he doesn’t enjoy a beer doesn’t mean it’s a bad beer, it’s just not his preference. He has little time for critics who pan someone’s beer. Maybe that comes from knowing the time, energy, research and blood, sweat and tears (Not literally. We would never put those liquids into our precious liquid) that goes into brewing that makes it hard for him to be hyper-critical. Unless a beer is infected or has off flavours (keeping in mind some beers are produced to have off flavours, such as diacetyl, deliberately because people like it) the beer is good, has merit and guaranteed there is someone out there who LOVES it!
At last year’s Tacofest we introduced a One-off Belgian Ale “Experimental Blonde”. Neither of us particularly loved it when we first tasted it but event goers loved it. It ran dry really quickly. We were shocked as it was not the beer we had hoped it would be but when, a week later, we took it to Because Beer we had people asking us to put it into the LCBO, once again people really loved it. The flavours grew on us but we are still going to tweak it.
What’s the point of all of this?
Firstly, Intimidation Factor: when you feel you don’t know enough about beer and someone is going to call you out and tell you that you must drink water from now on as you are clearly not qualified to drink craft beer-you troglodyte. That’s the Intimidation Factor. You know what we’re talking about! You’ve seen it in action. You don’t have to know what diacetyl is or how it affects beer in order to know a tasty beer that you like. Do we want take more courses in beer appreciation, Yes! Does that mean you have to? No.
We don’t want craft beer to have an Intimidation Factor. We want it to be for everyone. It’s about enjoying locally made, products that you know had time, care, effort and thought put into their production.
Secondly, we don’t want anyone to ever think that we have highfalutin ideas about beer, ourselves, or our company. Someone recently told us that they have are good at detecting bullshit, that they have a low tolerance for it and they find that working with us there’s no bullshit. We aim to keep it that way.
Lastly, keep talking. Sometimes we think we are going in one direction and then our fans flag us down and tell us we are going the wrong way. Tell us what you want. Tell us what you like (tell us to get stuffed if we are completely out to lunch). We appreciate your feedback. A few months ago we had someone tell us that we shouldn’t make beer with fruit in it because “beer is beer and you shouldn’t mess with it”. We will take it under consideration. I think there are lots of you out there who might like a fruit beer but we won’t know unless you tell us. So, please keep the convos and the recommendations coming!