Regular readers will remember my issues with the Perth International Beer Festival earlier this year. Well it's not long until this event returns to our social calendars. Although I'm pretty sure it's been scratched off a hell of a lot of to do lists since last January. If you aren't familiar with the ruckus, have a read of this and then this and then come back and continue reading....

This morning I received a comment on YeLPar from Chris aka The Beer Judges. (BTW Chris you don't appear to have drunk a beer since April, dear god man what's wrong?) Chris posted an email he'd received from the organisers and asked for any suggestions. It's fairly lost in the archives so I'll re post it and my response here. I'm sure Chris would appreciate any of your suggestions as well so that he may pass them on.

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?

Let me make it clear from the start that I am more than willing to give this event another go, I will attend and I will compare. However straight up I'm a bit concerned over the boast that success was based on the 50 metre queues. You can clearly see from my photo used in the voice article that they were longer than 50m, keep in mind that that photo starts at the middle of the line and those lines are the result of a crappily organised entrance to the event. I wouldn't rate the success of an event on how many people you forced to stand outside of it in the full sun. More pics here....

Now again I don't wish to beat a dead horse and I truly do hope they get it right this time round, so I've offered some suggestions in response to Chris's request...

Stu said...

Thanks Chris

Great to read this, off the top of my head these are the issues that arose from 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 children's 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


Fingers crossed....I guess


The Beer Judges said…
In response to your comment about me not drinking a beer since April, I've been in and out of a couple of jobs since then, however the invitation to sit down with you and consume some beers to add would be most welcome :)
Erin said…
I think I commented on this last year, maybe, but I went on the Sunday and it was awesome. No lines for toilets, no lines for drinks, and it was even possible to get a spot under the shade all day (in numerous tents - we moved around a lot).

I heard from everyone who went on the Saturday that it was a pile of poo, so I think I might've been on to something by getting Sunday tickets...
Stu said…
Yeah I've heard a number of good reports about Sunday last year, I think a lot of that is down to people googling the event on the Saturday and finding reports like mine as well as word of mouth so numbers were down on the Sunday. The organizers also got their act together after the Saturday debacle and I'm hoping they bring that to next years version
Erin said…
You'd think when it only takes one day to get your act together and fix the problem, they'd have been able to forsee it happening. Both days were sold out from memory so there was really no excuse for Saturday to suck so hard.
The Beer Judges said…
As you know, I met with the organiser of the bars at the Perth International Beer Festival, which is to be held on February 20 and 21 in 2010.

I would like to say at the outset that I did point out that I don't represent any breweries, as he had thought, and I was simply a member of the drinking public with some strong points of view.

The meeting was very cordial and I put a couple of suggestions to him as to things that could take place. I also offered him the opportunity to pass my contact details onto the main organiser (who came up with the idea) if he wanted to speak to me about entertainment and the like.

I can report a number of changes for next years festival.

The Venue
The venue is now the Supreme Court Gardens, a recommendation I made in my initial letter.

Tickets and general size
Tickets are capped at 5000 each day. They will be $25 each. This will make it easier for the organisers to predict required stock levels on a day by day basis.

I discovered in my discussions a number of different things. Firstly, they were in charge of the bars at Stereosonic, where 1 in every 4 drinks was a vodka Redbull. Considering that all the drinks have to go into plastic cups with ice (that is my understanding), it took them longer than expected to serve people, hence the queues at Stereosonic.
Further to that, beer can only be poured out of a tap at the rate of 80mLs per second.
Essentially, there will be some queuing but they have separated the can and bottle sales from the tap beer sales, to prevent cross overs and ideally will provide more options when people get to the bar.
On the plus side, a professional crowd control company has been hired to work the event. This company looks after Subiaco Oval, Stereosonic, etc.

Range of drinks
Gage Roads and Little Creatures have come on board for the Festival in February next year and all the Western Australian microbreweries have been contacted. However, there is some reluctance from some operations for a number of reasons. One of these is cost, as they are not likely to cover their costs. Secondly, the license for the Festival operates on a sale and return system. This means that any undamaged and resaleable cartons have to be returned to the brewery/distributor so they can be used again. This prevents the organisers from selling the beer later on in any way.
Further to that, it appears that some of the breweries are not interested in running separate marquees to represent their own breweries. This is partly because of the cost and partly because they need to hire RSA-trained staff to work the bars and pour their beers.
They are trying to get hold of beers not normally available in Australia, but are forced to go through specific distributor channels. They do not hold an Australian importers license and so it is hard to get a huge range of beverages from overseas. Additionally, stock levels in nearby bottleshops and pubs are so strictly controlled that there is not a sufficient stock of certain products around for them to buy to top up.
One thing I did discover is that UDLs have a 3 month use by date... from canning.

They are trying to get tastings this year, however their concern is that it will be difficult to properly pour tastes of beer off the tap and similarly some beers will taste different if poured out of a bottle or jug.

In conclusion, it appears that the organisers are doing their best to get it right. They have taken some very positive steps and my discussions indicate that they are looking at a long term view for the festival.

Hopefully, they will slide me some free tickets and I'll be able to judge for myself.

That's what they are doing (or at least saying they are doing)... what are your thoughts?
Cookster said…
Hmmm, twill be interesting to see if the changes go far enough and indeed if the bad feeling from last year impacts on visitor numbers?

Do you know if there are any free tickets available for 'influential' Perth bloggers to review the event???
Stu said…
nothing has been offered as yet :) and I dont think the Beer Judges came away with any
The Beer Judges said…
You will be interested to note that I haven spoken to the organisers this morning to request some complimentary tickets.

I was told to put it in writing and given my previous communications with them, I expect to receive the requested 4 tickets for Saturday.