We Love Real Beer was created to allow small breweries and representatives of brews to come together twice a year at a big-bang craft brew festival. Last Friday, 30 September, we took part in our second event under this umbrella organisation and yes, it was a big-bang festival.
We were told that about 2500 people crammed into the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock before the gates were closed, and even though there has been quite a bit of grumbling about aspects of the festival, we thought it was awesome to see so many happy faces with beer foam mustaches! Craft beer events bring good people out of the woodwork!
It wasn’t as successful as we’d hoped it would be, and I know that a number of breweries had lower sales then the event in March but this was certainly not because of the quality of beer!
The weather wasn’t too kind and a chilly wind got everyone huddled up and so there really wasn’t very much room to move once they were inside the hall. Most people stuck around one area and didn’t get to explore as much as they’d have liked to. It was definitely a mistake to keep the back hall of the Mill closed, but then there were grumbles from traders in the back hall at the last event, so one never really knows.
Jamie, David, Thembela and I really enjoyed introducing the new Hook Norton Brewery range of English Ales and their very popular Double Stout. Those that hadn’t had it before fell in love, and those that had bought it! We again sold loads of the Liefmans Fruitesse ‘Cherry’ beer and there were lots of lovers of the Robson’s range from Shongweni in KwaZulu Natal.
We were also manning Namibia’s Camelthorn Brewing Company’s stand with Lenny assisting Hanno and Nicole, and judging by the queues and the amount of time Hanno spent on his knees pouring ‘heady’ 7% Bok draughts, CBC is a firm favourite in the Cape.
I’m not sure that the SAB Miller Oktoberbier Fest affected the numbers though I’m sure their event was just as busy on the night – a good thing for beer all round – but we had people from all over town coming to taste beers that offer an awesome alternative to the regular mass produced brands.
I really hope that logistics get sorted out and would welcome hearing that a sponsor is found to make more people happy at the next event so that We Love Real Beer can grow and grow. There is enough great beer being brewed and I assure you there are enough who crave it. So if you can’t go out and hug your local brewer, go out and support his/her craft and buy the beer. After all, life’s too short for bad beer.