The First Annual Beer-Con – San Diego, CA – Sat Aug. 27th, 2011
It’s been a long time since I’ve had a good hangover. The kind it takes an entire day to recover from. But that’s exactly what I had today. And it brought back memories of my days as a student.
The first annual Beer Con was marked by great beer and great people at a great venue. By contacting event founders and sharing my posts from Gonzo Journals I was able to get a press pass but I quickly upgraded to a speaker pass as one was left unattended on the table.
Personally I missed the speaker circuit at the bar, but made it to the all you can drink beer tasting where I was able to poll the crowd about the speakers. Consensus about the speaking circuit was that it went off without a hitch. Particular highlights included the keynote speech by Anet Barren, the speech by Greg Koch, founder of Stone Brewery and the inspired opening speech by event co founder Michael Bowen. Generally speeches were up beat but some of the harsh barriers to entry into the brewing industry were revealed by speakers who have been through the grueling process.
The beer tasting garden was where I spent most of my time. Belgian style ales and local IPA’s dominated the event. Stone Brewery, Iron Fist Brewing, The Brewery, Karl Strauss, Green Flash Brewery and Mission Brewery were a few of San Diego’s local breweries represented at the event.
Proudly sporting the Event Speaker Lanyard I acquired at the registration table I made my rounds to the various tables growing my schwag collection including a free t shirt from Home Brewers and Gardens San Diego, a set of bottle openers from Widmer and a vibrating ring accidentally delivered by Hustler Magazine.
My two favorite drinks of the night were an ale from Manzanita brewery and Mission Brewery’s IPA.
The most unique was a green tea flavored IPA from Stone Brewery.
When asked about my speaker level access pass, perhaps the only level of access that let me get in areas beyond where my press pass could take me, I was able to craftily explain that I was there to speak about beer and it’s relation to the internet, a subject I knew more about than most beer fanatics.
I was almost busted on my speaker level access pass by the people at Brew Hop who happened to be holding a speaker list and asked me what my name was.
“I’m not on that list,” I explained. “I’m was a last minute replacement for a speaker who dropped out. I got a call from Mike and Alex early this morning because they know I know a lot about beer, marketing and the internet and they know I can put together a solid speech quickly. So I put together a speech today about how craft breweries can leverage the internet to grow their business.”
“ah, makes sense,” replied the girl behind the counter before going through the pitch about their limo to micro brewery service.
Next I was able to catch up with Melani and Jeff Gordon – founders of Tap Hunter, a service for locating great local draft beers, currently available in select cities. Expect big things from them in the future.
As I continued drinking I had the opportunity to catch up with event founders Michael Bowen and Alex Mckee. Michael said of the event: “I consider it a huge success. We gave out a lot of great beer and introduced a lot of people to the inner workings of the craft beer industry.”
I would say that that comment was right on with my experience.
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