Craft Beer Public Relations and Marketing
Yesterday, the 2014 Pride Dabbler was held in Loring Park. Organized by the folks at The Beer Dabbler (who also publish The Growler, a magazine to which I occasionally contribute), The Pride Dabbler has a unique among Minnesota beer festivals. It’s one of the smaller fests, with an equal focus on food and beer. Each brewery (all of which are local) is paired with a different food vendor. The food vendors prepare special menu items to pair with a particular brewery’s beer. Because of the smaller size and the focus on food, the vibe of Pride Dabbler tends to be a little more low key and slower-paced than some other festivals. That’s part of why I like it so much. There’s less dashing around to be in line for a particular tapping and fewer people getting fall-on-their-butts drunk.
Of course, Pride Dabbler is part of the the LGBT Pride celebration, which means the crowd has a different makeup as well. It’s often said that craft beer is an industry by and for straight white males, but the LGBT-focused event drew a crowd that was much more diverse than that of the usual festival. Several breweries sold merchandise with rainbow versions of their logos, and the mood was festive, friendly and inclusive. If the craft beer industry wants to learn how to appeal to more than just the stereotypical white male craft beer fan, they need look no further than the Pride Dabbler.
So, what about the beer? This year’s Dabbler marked the festival debuts of the recently opened Tin Whiskers and the upcoming Bauhaus Brew Labs. Both new breweries brought a couple of their standard offerings, and the pair I tried from both were tasty. However, the downside of beer festivals is that it really isn’t a great place to get a true picture of a beer – after a dozen samples from the same glass, you’re not getting the true character of a beer. So I’ll be heading to both Bauhaus and Tin Whiskers to try their beers in the manner they deserve. Even sampling their beers in festival conditions, it seems like both have bright futures.
Most breweries brought only standard brews, although a few offered up rarer samples or more adventurous offerings. Standouts for me included Indeed’s Mojito Shenanigans, Lift Bridge’s Minnesota Tan, Northgate’s ESB on orange peel firkin and the Evergreen Red IPA by Rock Bottom Brewery. In total, I sampled 17 beers yesterday, not counting a nightcap at the Bulldog Downtown afterwards, where I spotted several other faces who were clearly winding down the lovely night in Loring Park.
This was my second time attending the Pride Dabbler and I definitely hope to keep coming back year after year!