Okay I think this might be my final post on the beer festival, I'm a bit done with it all and I've managed to have a couple of cold beers since it all unfolded so there's now a renewed balance in the universe.

I do have to post this though, mostly because I'm in it ha! Big thanks to Waz for scanning it (straight) as I'm up in the Pilbara at the mo and no access to this issue of The Voice.

The Voice newspaper Friday 16th January 2009


I also want to share this comment placed here by Chris, you can check out his blog on all things beer at The Alcohol Advisory.

This is an email I got back from Independent Events, after asking their opionion of the festival since they were organising the bars.

Hey Chris,
I’m happy to answer your enquiry and I’ll just state from the outset here that the following isn’t an excuse but a tale of how even the most experienced operator can get caught out.

I can only comment here on the bar service side of things here.

Range of beers

WABA would have been welcome contributor to this event but after a meet with the promoters simply didn’t want to get involved. The event organizers were very disappointed that the industry wouldn’t support them. It’s important to state here that it was the event organizers that put their houses on the line to make this event happen not the Brewers Association. Independent Events also offered the promoters advise based on our experience as event operators but once we have given them that advise we respect that they are entitled to make the final decisions in regards to the event.

The responses varied but as a whole the following organizations and breweries either wouldn’t return our calls or allow us to buy the product to sell at the event. All breweries were offered free tap points at the festival so cost wasn’t the issue.

· Bootleg Brewery
· Colonial Brewing Company
· Cowaramup Brewing Company
· Nail Brewing
· Occy’s Brewery
· Wicked Ale Brewery
· Duckstein Brewery
· Tanglehead Brewing Company
· Mad Monk Freo (Brewery Restaurant)
· Little Creatures Brewing
· Elmar’s In The Valley
· Feral Brewing Company
· Gage Roads Brewing Company
· Indian Ocean Brewing Company
· Billabong Brewery
· Mash Brewing Company
· Matilda Bay Brewing Company
· Blackwood Valley Brewing Company
· Last Drop Brewery
· Ironbark Brewing
· Jarrah Jacks Brewery

They presented at the event every single beer that was available to them which were the following;


· Abbott Ale Draft
· Becks
· Boags Draft
· Coopers Lager
· Coopers Light
· Coopers Pale
· Coopers Sparkling
· Greene King IPA
· Greene King Mild
· Guinness
· Heiniken
· Hobgoblin English Ale
· Hofbrau Dark Lager
· Hofbrau Hefe Weizen
· Hofbrau Lager
· James Squire Amber ale
· James Squire Golden ale
· Kilkenny
· Warsteiner
· Weihenstephan Hefe
· Weihenstephan Pilsner


· Abbott Ale (500ml)
· Belhaven Scotish Draft Cans
· Boddingtons
· Greene King IPA 500ml
· Heiniken
· Hobgoblin Ruby Beer
· Hobgoblin Strong Dark Ale 500ml
· London Pride
· Old Specled Hen
· Wexford Irish Cream Ale


· Belhaven Scotch Ale 335ml
· Green Goblin Cider 500ml
· Indian Pale Ale
· Nut Brown Ale
· Old Brewery Pale Ale
· Organic Best Ale
· Organic Lager
· Pheonix 350ml
· Real Belgium Pils
· Rose
· Spitfire

Lines and running out

The closest model we had when ordering and staffing this event is the West Coast Blues and Roots Festival in Fremantle which attracted 14,000 people and draft beer sales were 25% of sales and we had 16 bartenders and 16 tap points in the draft beer stall. The math we applied?

· 25% of that is 3500

· Ticket sales for this event on the Saturday was 3000 so may-be we’ll see 4000 at the most so using this formula 16 taps and 16 bartenders was the minimum requirement.

· To cover ourselves we had 30 bartenders 24 taps on the main bar, 6 taps on the FM liquor Stall (which also packaged), plus the Phoenix Stall and the Lionel Sampson Stall. The event also had a Wine and Slushie Stall open.

Pre event it appeared that we had all bases covered. As it turned out this wasn’t the case. There wasn’t a 90 minute wait for a beer as you state below but initially it was 45 minutes, which is totally unacceptable. We called in another 20 staff and by 6.00pm the wait was 15 minutes and by 7.00 or 8.00pm the queues had gone and we had regained control of the venue. We then worked through the night and installed 7 more bars and the following day there was no queuing at all.

Warm beer

Again no excuse but to respond to your enquiry I can offer the following explanation. The beers were cold all day except for a short period of time in the in the Pheonix Beer Stall. Here we went through half a pallet, which we had stored in our cool room on site for 4 days, in an hour which we simply weren’t prepared for. We had warm back up stock in our warehouse which we bought onto site and it took about an hour to get down to temperature. It was during this time that the Pheonix bottles weren’t cold. The bartenders told everyone that it was warm and some of the punters, out of desperate need for a beer, put ice in the cups. I probably would have done the same thing if I was in 35 degree heat and had been queuing for a drink for half an hour.

My understanding of the beer festival in Fremantle was that it was a financial disaster and they also had mass queuing. I actually boosted the tap points and staff determined not to have the same happen at this event but still had huge issues. We’re as disappointed as anyone about the start of the festival but we quickly regained control of the event and any mistakes learned won’t be repeated if given the opportunity to do this style of event again.

Craig happy to talk about any aspect of the event from our side of things should you wish to discuss it further. My office number is 9328 1841.

I hope this offers you some insight on what happened from our side of things.



I've posted this so that all sides get a chance to speak. Interesting info in there. I have nothing more to add except that i hope they manage to do it better next year. Good luck.



Ranx said…
Beer Enthusiast? Much better label than amateur pisshead, do you mind if I appropriate it? :-D
Stu said…
by all means, I cannot claim to be the one and only beer enthusiast in a country such as this now can I :)

enthuse away
Maja said…
That was a pretty in depth explanation they gave you there, which is good to see. I hope they can get it right in the future, too. Maybe things become better with time and experience.
The Beer Judges said…
It may interest you all but the organisers have contacted me again with the following email.



Independent Events is running the bars again for the Perth International Beer Festival.

Last year the festival was a huge success having a queue out the front 50 meters before the gates even opened and over 9000 punters through the door.

The biggest problem last year was keeping up and as such this year the promoter has;

· Tripled the bar sizes

· Moved the venue to the Supreme Court Gardens

· Increased the range of drinks available

The nature of my enquiry is to establish whether you would be interested to meet and discuss how the festival can better cater for the breweries you represent.

If you are at all interested please don’t hesitate to contact me by return email or call on xxxx xxx xxx.


Marcus Sarich


Any suggestions here?
Stu said…
Thanks Chris

Great to read this, off the top of my head these aare the issues that arose form last time and that will need to be addressed:

1. Entry (the reason there were huge queues is the entry was small and slow and poorly organised

2. Range of beers, it's an international beer festival so there should be international beers and the beers that are advertised should be available

3. supply, have enough of these beers on hand and ensure they are cold

4. outlets (bars), more outlets so people do not have to wait half an hour for a drink

5. shade, for those who are waiting for drinks, the long lines last time were in full sun

6. Do we really need a childrens section? is a beer festival somewhere we should be bringing children

that's all I can think of at the moment, I welcome the change of venue and hopefully the area will be bigger than last year