Sunday, June 05, 2011

Yesterday's inaugural Bloomington Craft Beer Festival.

The First Annual Bloomington Craft Beer Festival took place yesterday (June 4, 2011). It was an outdoor event on a blisteringly hot day, and yet still drew somewhere close to 1,000 paid admissions, which I think was very good for a first-time event.

Most Indiana brewers were in attendance, and the ironic aspect of the day to me was that even though the Brewers of Indiana Guild might have hoped for a larger turnout, it proved to be a rare chance to interact with fest goers in a way that isn't possible when 5,000 people want beer, now.

NABC's reps in attendance were me, Richard and Ben, and we actually had the chance to converse, answer questions and educate. It's a tightrope when it comes to meeting consumer demand and doing so with requisite artistry; money's a factor, and so is face time. There is no firm verdict, just a constant process of compromise.

The Woolery Mill venue on the south side is ideal, in my estimation. Lots of space, scenic and accessible. I'd hate to see this location lost. There already seems to be some discussion of moving next year's event back, perhaps into May, which would be another spin of the wheel in the sense of (possibly) avoiding high temperatures, while risking the chance of monsoons like we suffered through in 2011.

But it would have the very positive effect of separating the dates of Bloomington Craft Beer Festival and Keg Liquors' Fest of Ale in Clarksville, which is committed to its June slot owing to the annual Crusade for Children in Louisville.

Thanks to everyone who turned out yesterday, both attendees and volunteers. A few tweaks, and we have another BIG winner on our hands.

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