Monday, August 29, 2011
2011 Utah Beerfest Recap
And deservedly so. Many people had to wait in huge lines for a chance to snag a small mug of beer, some not getting a chance spend the tokens that came with their ticket. That sucks, but it's not necessarily the fault of the festival's organizers.
I've been to a lot of beer festivals around the west, some done well - some not so well. This one was done well - and I'll tell you why. They learned from what didn't work last year, they listened, gathered feedback and implemented what what they could.
The problem with the beerfest is the state of Utah. This market (Salt Lake) is too big to have a beerfest of such limited size. The last beerfest held in Salt Lake was over four years prior to 2010's fest, and in that time beer, or should I say craft beer has exploded in popularity.
In a market of similar size you wouldn't see problems like massive lines for beer, because you would have at least triple the number of breweries in attendance. That won't happen in Utah because of the brilliant 4.0% limit on draft law.
Many out of state breweries would love to attend a Utah Beer Festival, they're just not willing to go through the expense and bullshit to attend. No brewery in their right mind would send hundreds of cases of bottles from out of state, when they could send two or three kegs instead.
What I'm saying is, don't blame the organizers (City Weekly) they did a fine job with what they had to work with. The Wasatch Front is just to damn big to have a beerfest of such limited size. One possible fix could be to spread it out over two days with less tickets for sale.
What do you think? Is this about Utah's limitations or something else?
And on a side note. The breweries were amazing. The quality of the beers were as good as you'd find in the finest beer markets. Thanks to you all for such great craft beers!