Beervana 2017 - Where's Epic?
Over the last few days, a lot of people have asked Luke why we haven't got a stand at the Beervana festival this year. Here's Luke's response: This is the first year ever that Epic doesn't have a stand at Beervana. I love Beervana. I've been involved since 2002 when the first seed of Beervana was planted. This was even before Epic existed when I was brewing at Steam Brewing Company for the Cock & Bull pubs and also establishing realbeer.co.nz. Back then some of us in the fledgeling NZ craft brew industry came together to create the first competition and event, Brew NZ. We had judging and then a small event (mini beer festival) for a few hundred people at the university. Over time, these events evolved into Beervana and the NZ Beer Awards.
Fifteen years on, the craft beer marketplace and what people want from Beervana has changed. Over the last few years at Beervana I've had a huge amount of people come up to our stand and tell me how they love our beer and where they buy it and drink it. But, they also tell me that they're not buying it at Beervana because they can only drink so much beer and want to try beer from all the exciting new breweries that they can't get anywhere else. Often they tell me they're going to go the Malthouse or somewhere afterwards to drink some Epics or they have some waiting in the fridge at home. To my recollection, we've never made a profit at Beervana and have always happily considered it a marketing exercise. I would guess that it's not a profit making exercise for most breweries. But, as the event size and exhibitor costs have increased, along with punters telling us they're not buying our beer because they can get it elsewhere, it doesn't make economic sense for us to keep exhibiting. Like other breweries, we've planned evening events every night at various locations to add to the overall Beervana experience and still participate in a way that works for us. I think it's great that Beervana has evolved to this point, to give all of these new breweries a platform to share their beers. I've purchased tickets for my staff and myself to attend as punters and enjoy the event without the responsibility of running a stand. I'm looking forward to trying new beers I've never tried and talking 'beer' with others who are as excited about it as I am. See you at Beervana!