Why Cancelled Beer Fests Are A Reason For You To Drink MORE

You’ve heard all the clichés: Becoming a victim of your own success; having too much of a good thing; be careful what you wish for. As Greater Philly’s beer prowess grows mightier by the month, it seems we may be starting to confront what some may call a good problem: too many awesome beer events.

Some of you may have been planning to attend Joe Sixpack’s Fall Beer Expo at the United German-Hungarian Club Oktoberfest tomorrow, only to be quietly notified some time back that the beer fest portion of Oktoberfest had been canceled. Same goes for the TrackPackPA.com Craft Beer Fest at Parx East Casino that was scheduled for September 10: Cancelled before the first keg was tapped.

The reason for both of these cancellations? Poor ticket sales.

The cause: too many concurrent events.

While it’s a shame for any festival to be canceled (none more so than a craft brew event, in our beer-soaked opinion), the cancelation of these two festivals is surprising because they were notable and unique. The Parx East fest would, to our knowledge, have been the first time Philadelphians could’ve sampled craft beer while watching race horses speed by. And it was sponsored by Philly Beer Week (PBW)–an entity that puts its stamp on a fairly limited number of events. Tomorrow’s cancelation of the Joe Sixpack event was even more disappointing. As most of you know, Joe Sixpack is Don Russell, the executive director of PBW and the pre-eminent beer celebrity in a (Delaware) Valley full of beer celebs. The organizers of the Oktoberfest asked him to select the beers, which were to include some “newfangled” pumpkin ales, and brand the fest-within-a-fest with his own name.

We acknowledge the difficulty of trying to schedule enough cool events to satisfy a big city in the few weather-worthy months we have. It’s hard to cram any more stuff into a single Philadelphia September weekend, and yes, this coming weekend forces you to choose between Oktoberfest at Brauhaus Schmitz and the Newtown Beerfest, plus the Popped! and Philly F/M music festivals and many, many more. But it brings up the question of how much is too much? And when we reach this (wholly speculative) limit, should we do anything about it? And is that even possible?

Russell himself doesn’t think our embarrassment of riches is anything to worry about. When we asked him to propose some solutions, he emailed, “I don’t agree with your premise. Two canceled beer festivals does not constitute ‘suffering.'”

We very much respect your opinion, Mr. Sixpack. But we disagree. Suffering – acutely – is exactly what happens when we’re deprived of any chance to drink quality craft beers (or any beer, really), even when, as you say, we have a plethora of other places to do so.

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  • LibertyBelle1

    The author fails to note that most of the fests are ticketed, and frankly, not cheap. While I love craft beer and venture out for great finds, it’s still cheaper to sit at a bar and buy a tasting during a tap takeover or buy two exceptional beers. You’re talking about $15 versus $30-45 for these events.

  • DanT

    We need some Groupon like mechanism where folks aren’t charged or expecting an event to occur until they can see that a certain ticket threshold has been reached. That way, we can collectively encourage our buddies to attend while not getting pissed off at the presenting organization for failing to execute.

    Also, to address Liberty’s comment: you’re paying for atmosphere and a shared experience with a community of your peers. You could apply the same reasoning to watching a sporting match from your couch vs. actually going to the stadium.

  • GrowlerKing

    every fuckface with access to a liquor license is trying to cash in on craft beer and it sucks. when there was only 2-3 fests brewers would actually come down and have amazing suds with them. now those types stay away so as not to play favorites, the rare beer doesn’t see these events, and brace-faced volunteers pour you beer they can’t even pronounce let alone talk intelligently about. urgh.

  • GrowlerFool

    Only a phucking moron would think a Growler is a good idea. The beer starts going flat from the moment it goes in the growler. Then the beer is open at home and oxidizes and continues to get worse and worse when you screw back on your cheap ass tin cap and put it back in your mommas fridge. The final two beers are pure shite. So STFU Growler Fool, you are a simpleton trying to act superior to other fools.

  • no

    DanT: You may have a point about the qualitative difference in the venues – MAYBE. I, for one, have not been eager to pay to find out. And even if I were, how often could I afford to do that? Not often.

  • lilpit

    Hey, kudos to Brauhaus Schmitz – their Oktoberfest on Saturday was an awesome good time. Good beer, good food, good music, happy people. Crowded but not too packed. Nice job guys.

  • Mark h

    The World Cafe cancelled a Belgian Beerfeesten scheduled for June 2011 which would have been very unique and would have continued our town’s scholarship of that beer mad country’s beer traditions.