Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Philly Beer Week 2010: Contemplations, Conversations, Ruminations, and an occasional Diatribe: Part 7

(This is the seventh in a series of ten installments documenting both my time during Philly Beer Week 2010 and insights provided to me by customers, importers/distributors/representatives, brewers, brewery owners, publicans, et cetera. All of whom wanted their comments to be aired, but very few who wanted their name associated with them. Some of you may not appreciate the anonymity, but that's the way it needs to be if we're going to talk about these things around here. You'll need to trust in me that I've gathered up all of these notes and opinions during PBW '10 and am sharing them with you in order to continue the conversation about what will make a better Philly Beer Week 2011.)

Click back to see the sixth in the series. Click forward to see the eighth in the series.

Event Planners take note: if you planned an event at the last minute (fess up, that's most of the events on the PBW '10 calendar)--and by last minute, I mean less than a month...okay, I'll be generous and say less than two weeks prior to June 4th--you dramatically underestimated the needs for folks to plan their Philly Beer Week experiences...particularly in June.

I'll stand up and say "I hear you and understand that the planning of beer/bar events are not necessarily those of long-range planning." I'll give PBW kudos for rolling out better tools this year than ever before, albeit in the last week or so prior to (and the iPhone app, just a few days prior to) the PBW kickoff. These tools worked well.

But, they worked well for the extreme beer geekerie of whom much of this year's PBW had to rely on. I say this because (and, no one can claim to have scientific/demographic evidence of PBW attendees...so take this with a grain of salt) the average beer-drinking community that you really want to pull out for these events have a much busier life in June than they did in March last year...or any year.. The hardcore beer geeks knew PBW was coming and many did just about whatever they needed to do to get to as much as they possibly could during the 10 days.

Your more average craft beer drinker, the ones you really want to market to? Graduation Parties, End of school year (mostly for their kids...for some others, themselves), weddings, lawn and garden work (yes suburbanites with lawns and gardens are a much greater part of PBW than many may wish to acknowledge), family vacations, just to name a few are all things that most of your target market will not and can not move around to come to an event that you just announced last week.

Event-Planning, particularly in June, means advance planning more than it does in March. All we have to do is point to the numerous cancelled and reduced price/reduced scope events and the events that did not nearly fill the space that they were intended for. The time of year and amount of advance planning are two critical items to keep in mind when event planning for PBW '11.

Oh, and regarding that comment about suburbanites? Another gem from one of them who said: "The City needs to accept and appreciate that suburban beer drinkers probably support the Philly Beer Landscape more than city residents themselves do."

Now, of course, hardly anyone can substantiate that statement. But, there is certainly an air of city versus suburbs in the planning and conducting of PBW events, not necessarily a topic that I'd planned to really address in any detail. But perhaps you'd like to.

Your thoughts, if you will?

Coming tomorrow...we'll dive yet a bit deeper into what the PBW target demographic should be.


Steve said...

Great post Brian.

John Doherty said...


I agree with all you said.

I would bring PBW back to March and have it where it does not conflict with the festival in Belgium.

How about late March/early April?

tom foley said...

as stated elsewhere, then you conflict with the Craft Brewers Conference.

Bryan Kolesar said...

Soon enough we should have an answer...thanks guys

Anonymous said...

We had our events planned by the end of April and still didn't get the atendance we expected... too many events, as well as the other conflicts you mentioned. Who is going to miss a graduation party for a beer event? (I did but it was my beer event) It needs to go back to March, if it misses Zythos than great, but PBW isn't about Belgian beer and we need to stop catering to a select few and focus on the majority...