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    Tuesday, 21 October 2008

    Too Much Beer Or Not Enough?

    The life of a beer festival organiser cannot be a happy one at times. Sure it's very rewarding seeing the crowds of drinkers having a great time sampling all those wonderful beers, but something that would haunt me for weeks beforehand is getting the beer order right.

    Which is worse? Running out of beer a few hours before closing time, or throwing away gallons at the end of the night? Is it possible to get it spot on so that there's just enough left for the staff to have a quick knees up after the doors close?

    It's very rare that I visit a festival on the last day, but I hear reports from a fair few and I know that there are festivals who find themselves at both ends of the spectrum, and may swing from one to the other from one year to the next. At Oxford on Saturday the beer was running out fast and apparently did end a few hours before closing. At Northampton this year we had quite a lot left, whereas the year before it did run out.

    I think given the choice I would throw I away. It's certainly not ideal, and wastage of any type doesn't sit well with me, but as long as a profit is made, then I think it can be justified rather than be in a situation where a large number of punters are cheesed off with the beer running out.

    It's a tricky decision but someone's got to make it. Nobody ever said being in charge is a bed of roses.


    Tandleman said...

    As someone who has been a festival organiser more than once, it is indeed a balancing act. We aim to run out as late as possible on the Saturday. It is the only way. We charge less on Saturday to get in and as the beer runs out, we stop charging by way of recognising the choice is less, though we always have plenty on our excellent Foreign Beer Bar.

    Usually we have a few gallons left spread through a number of casks.

    chris_o said...

    One approach would be to have more bottled beer (not just foreign) on hand as backup in case the casks run out. Then any surplus can be passed on to the next festival (as is obviously the case with many foreign beers already). And have bottles spread around the venue a bit more. The trouble with having all the bottles beers concentrated in one or two places (usually the foreign beer bar) is that, when cask stocks run low, all the drinkers gravitate there with the result that getting served can be tough and the bar staff elsewhere are stood around with nothing to do. London Drinker particularly springs to mind in this respect.

    haddonsman said...

    Not enough. Drink the fest dry, collective pats on the back for a job well done.

    Canny organisers have those un-advertised casks ready for the take-down party.

    I'd love Chris's idea to work, but the thought of several hundred thirsty pissheads descending onto bottle stalls at the session's end, perhaps with glasses too small for the bottles, perhaps the added complexity of odd prices, seems like a nightmare.

    maeib said...

    I will always support the notion of having more bottled beer. If it don't sell it can go to another festival

    Cuckoo said...

    Is that my granddaughter by any chance next to the sign?

    She so loves attending beer fests with her Daddy and I can't wait to accompany them too, once I return home to the UK.

    maeib said...

    It certainly is your Granddaughter. She does love beer festivals and you are more than welcome to come with us when you're home. I seem to recall it's your round.

    Cuckoo said...

    I am quite happy to buy the first round, however there may be certain provisos attached, such as you buy the next several rounds, particularly if Adnams Best or Theakstons Old Peculier is available!