Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Foam by the Sea, Part II

Some follow-up thoughts and details (behind the scenes stuff, some forward thinking and yes, even some more numbers) from last weekend’s Atlantic City Beer Festival (March 10-11).

Quick post-show tallies put attendance at the Convention Center show at about 8,300. That breaks down as 2,400 for the Saturday afternoon session; 4,400 for Saturday night’s leg; and finally 1,500 for the Sunday afternoon session.

Those are unofficial counts, but a rep from festival promoters Unsuited Entertainment says the final figures probably will be somewhere in that ballpark.

Growth spurt

But more than anything, U-E notes the attendance was up from the 2006 show, which saw the gate do about 6,000 people for an inaugural festival that had 100 beers -- a number that doubled this go-round.

And as one could expect, U-E is already thinking 2008 while it puts 2007 under the microscope to zero in on what went right and what went wrong.

Glass, house

Contracting with the Convention Center for a festival means the promoters are kinda like guests in someone's house. And there are some unbendable rules that just come with the deal. One of those was that the souvenir taster, the small logo-inscribed mug that you chug, had to be plastic, not glass. Guess that shatters hopes for our preference.

Garden State variety

U-E had hoped to lure more New Jersey breweries and brewpubs to the festival, and notable ones from Philadelphia and Delaware. “Try, try again” is pretty much their thinking, so it’s possible some fence-sitters in 2007 may make an appearance in 2008. Stay tuned.

The ol’ in-out, Alec

Uh, not that kind, dirty mind. The restriction against re-entering after exiting the festival hall, well thankfully, that’s not a hard limit set by the house. This is pretty key, since there are additional restrooms just outside the meeting halls, and that could help keep the lines to the loo short. We hope there’s a return to the 2006 policy that allowed folks to exit and come back. Smokers will probably be happy, too.

Rinse and repeat

This is something we didn’t point out previously, but there was a shortage of rinse water for the taster glasses. It’s fairly routine at festivals for the beer/brewery stations to have some rinse water on hand for patrons’ glasses, so the next beer doesn’t taste like the one before it. U-E is on top of it.


The food … another topic that’s on U-E’s collective minds. They know there’s room to improve, meaning they’re working on it. We have faith.

Be good

Yeah, it’s what your mom said as you headed out the door for school or to play all those many years ago. Little did you know, she also meant it to include when you go to beer festivals. Why do we bring this up? Well, seven of you didn’t listen Saturday night, and the Community Chest card you drew said, “Go directly to jail.” So for 2008, we’ll remind everyone of mom’s proviso: “If you’re gonna drink, don’t be a jerk.” Enough said.


The photo gallery is up, and so is the video. (Thanks, Gary; thanks, Ted.) Tech note: The audio is slightly out of sync with the video. It's a YouTube thing, since users upload already compressed video to the site and Y-T turns around and formats (read: recompresses) it as Flash video. We're working in Final Cut to QuickTime (a Y-T compatible format) and have tried several different QT compression settings to resolve the problem. We'll keep trying as time allows and will repost the video when we find the magic number.


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