Did you enjoy any of the trillion Sacramento Beer Week events this year? If you did you have the guy above, Dan Scott, to thank. He’s very modest, so he probably wouldn’t agree with that and would point to everyone else involved, etc., but he has been MacGyvering this thing together with chewing gum and baling wire for the last five years.
I met him at Lowbrau about a week after SBW ended (I hate transcribing so I back burnered it for weeks) over a Mikkeller barrel-aged barley wine and and then a Mikkeller Dream Pils. We talked about the future of beer week, which is clearly as bright and clear as the pilsner we had, yet as deep and complex as the barleywine. And, it will get you drunk.
What did you do the day after beer week?
I slept. I avoided looking at anything electronic. Went for two long walks. I did NOT have a beer. I tried to relax. As far as things went during the week this was the most relaxing time I have had.
Is this the 4th year?
The fifth. Last year I had surgery before and complications after so it pretty much sucked.
What was this year like?
Pretty big. There were 450 events on the calendar. The closing event was huge. Capitol Beer Fest moved to the Capitol mall and it was such a nice place to have it. The Capitol and the bridge and the open air. Indoor beer fests can get stifling and loud.
What was the attendance for that event? How was it in previous years?
I didn’t get the numbers but between four and 5 thousand. It was at Cal Expo the previous 3 years. A huge advantage this year was having it next to bus lines and lightrail and Amtrak and easily bikeable. We had a bike corral and there’s a picture of it online somewhere it is basically bikes stacked 20 high. It was really cool that so many people were able to get there without driving.
The question on beer industry lips is will it get moved next year due to its proximity to SF Beer Week?
There are pros and cons for each and different parts of the industry have different opinions. Last year I met with a lot of people so that’s why we moved it one week forward to get some space from SF Beer Week. It happens this time of year because it’s the slowest time of year for bars and restaurants and we made it the busiest week of the year.
Was there one week this year between the two events?
I believe it was almost 2 weeks. I think we do get less participation from San Francisco breweries. We get less tourist travel from the Bay Area. Our local breweries who participate in SFBW – it hits them hard. People didn’t use to do that and now we have at least 5 or 6 that are and that’s rough. They can only make and store so much beer. Everyone must be out right now! That would be another really good advantage – the only place I see it moving is mid to late April, the other slot that seems to make sense. That was why we had that timing five years ago –it’s a good time to think about it again.
Hmm…tourism, I didn’t think of that.
As our scene grows and gets more reputable we’ll see more. When I go to I see Sacramento breweries on tap, at City Beer, at some of the best places in town. We’re going to start getting more people coming out here which is also awesome.
What was your favorite event?
The Sacramento Brewers Showcase. The opening event on February 27th. It was the largest collection of local breweries we’ve ever had. Twenty seven breweries all located within about 45 minutes of here. The venue was phenomenal – the California Auto Museum. It was spacious. There are so many brewfests where the tables are lined up against each other. There was room to wander. There were about ten food vendors. A lot of places brought their A game. There were a lot of breweries there that had never been to a beer festival before as vendors, like Cool Beerwerks, I don’t think Goathouse ever had. Little hole in the walls that are making cool beer, it’s really nice to see people get exposed to those. We had what, nine breweries open in the area in the last year?
What is a brewery that you are excited about?
Device (quickly answered). Ken Anthony is unbelievably passionate about what he’s doing. He’s working 14 hours a day. It’s him and his wife and it an absolute bare bones mom and pop operation, and it makes great beer. I expect great things from him if everything works out. There’s a bunch of them. Mike Mraz in El Dorado Hills. He’s a minor rock star in the home brewing world and now we get to get his beer on a regular basis. Other people for sure. I really like to see new small passionate places popping up.
Who was your right hand man?
Darcey Self Barnes was my creative director – she was incredible and I had two people doing my social media and calendar and other than that…it’s a lot of me.
Are you thinking about next year?
Oh yeah! More people, more delegation, more help. It has officially gotten big. It’s been too big for me to reasonably manage for a while now. It’s kind of like hanging onto a bronco. It happens and I hold on. With the number of new restaurants and breweries and pubs its gotten to a point where it needs to be beer week mark 2. Things have to be retooled and reconsidered and adjusted for the new Sacramento beer world we live in. There are gonna be what, 6 or 7 new breweries opening next year? Two of them opened between planning beer week and right now (laughs). Existing places are increasing their tap handles. We were booming 3 years ago and it’s still happening . It’s wonderful to see. I love it!
Where is there room to improve for next year?
Dialing in the calendar. Calendars are very expensive. And beer week does not have a large budget. It’s still very much a grassroots operation.
How did your partnership with Hops To Table go?
It went very well. Hops to Table is one of the most legitimate publications in the area, without side goals, without a particular agenda. Craft beers are incredibly collaborative, but in the end it’s a business, so Hops to Table’s business is promoting craft beer so that it can be a self-sustaining promoter of craft beer. Last beer week was their premier issue and [publisher] John [Zervas] was freaking out and it was like “Dude in one year revisit your freakout and let’s see.” It was a double issue this year with a ton of advertising. And he only has room to grow. It’s a great resource.
Any last sum ups?
Nah (laughs). I just think it went really well.