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View Full Version : To Sell beer or to Donate beer to festival organizers



northstarbrew
08-07-2009, 03:01 PM
After donating many bbls of beer to several festivals over the years, I have begun asking the festival organizers "Do you pay for the beer". 100% of the time the festival organizers are stating they "Do not pay for beer".... "We expect the beer to be donated".

My question:

If the organizers pay for security, fencing, food vendors, music/dj's, permits, insurance, advertising, etc., etc., WHILE THE MAIN ATTRACTION IS THE BEER, why not pay a wholesale or maybe even a non-profit price for beer for their festival?

We have begun boycotting festivals, well not so dramatic, but we are simply choosing to not participate...

I have been told by California ABC that there is a limit on "donations" per year. I can't remember what the number is, but it was quite low, like in the "Couple of bbls" range, so there is a legal element here.

Simple math:
Beer festival tickets: $30 entry includes all you can taste
2,000 visitors (more in some cases)

30 * 2000 = $60,000 in ticket sales <- and this is a conservative example.

assume 4 pints per person or 8,000 pints divided by lets say 100 pints per 1/2 bbl, so that is 80 1/2 bbls and at even, let's say $50 a keg (cost of goods sorta number)...

that it 80 * $50 = $4,000 in beer costs. 7% of the take to the breweries... Double that to $100 a bbl and you get 14% to the breweries... big whoop. Non profit still makes out like bandits and the breweries get what their beer is worth...

Any thoughts??? I am stubborn on this topic, because I think my analysis is fair, very fair...

Looking forward to your comments.

ace1797
08-07-2009, 03:45 PM
I feel the same way. I would love to see a financial statement from some of these events. The only ones that we still do are fundraisers. Please start paying for the beer or boycott these events.

Ted Briggs
08-07-2009, 03:59 PM
I feel the same with the exception of certian events which have a advertising/promotional value. Its up to each brewery to cost/benifit this grey area though.
My hometown beer fest, of course im going to do it. Drive hours to an area I dont sell beer and so I can give away free beer, pay for my own gas, food, hotel on top of that--- I dont think so!
Festivles are alot of work, even if the general perception is a fun vacation for brewers.

GlacierBrewing
08-07-2009, 05:19 PM
I have been involved with several breweries in different states. It seems the event promoters "expect" at least a deal on the kegs if not outright free. They always fall back on "we promoting your products.". Most brewfests, in years past, provided a dinner or lodging or both for the participating brewers. Currently, it seems you're lucky if the brewfest organizers don't charge you a fee. I agree that the promoters NEED to pay at least wholesale for the beer. Maybe they should try a sushi-fest and see how much free sushi they get.

.....okay, end of rant.

prost!
Dave

DesertWort
08-07-2009, 06:18 PM
Tell them they promote your product as much as a grocery store promotes Cheerios, for which they pay wholesale.

v2comp
08-08-2009, 06:32 AM
I dont think we can expect to see this change anytime soon unless the biggest fish in the ponds decide to charge for theirs.
it's fairly common business practice to give away items for the publicity and exposure, and while I agree that we should at least get our costs of goods out of it, unless SA, DF, SN and the other larger micros stop giving it away, the promoters/organizers will not pay us for our products.
the big boys with regional or national distribution are always trying to gain market share and they can actually use the exposure, where a very small local market only brewery doesnt recieve the same benefits.
I guess my point is that if you are invited to participate and are looking for a vacation where the promoters/organizers give you hotel rooms in exchange for beer and attendance, then go for it. otherwise, market your products locally where you get the most bang for the buck or make it a policy to charge a set price for your beer you donated before and dont budge. I think we will find these beer festivals change their approach and some may even have to fold.
do we really think that Sam A.'s is gonna stop giving away their beer? once the breweries get even close to that size, they act just like the Macros. its the nature of the thing I guess. maybe the local brewery should organize their own festivals and invite and pay other breweries for their beer???? I wonder??? :confused: :confused:

MatthewS
08-08-2009, 07:55 AM
We are pretty much done doing fests that don't offer to pay for beer.

Beeradvocate.com fests here in Massachusetts take it one step further.

They not only offer to pay for the beer (full wholesale price) but they don't charge a table fee. I like these fests for other reasons too.

Beer Summit is not quite that generous. They will pay for beer and charge you a table fee or just make it a wash... BCTC does the same thing.

Many friends (brewers) are not participating in fests that want free beer and don't offer us anything in return. I say we all stand on this and watch what happens.

einhorn
08-08-2009, 08:16 AM
One of the reasons why we have decided to put on our own fest. We will be working on a ticket system where each brewer will receive a percentage of each ticket sold and collected.

I guess in the end it's if you see this as a general cost like gas or insurance or as a fairly inexpensive method to have 100's of people try your beer and be exposed to your brand.

nohandslance
08-08-2009, 11:03 AM
I am sponsoring an event, I just asked for the breweries to pay 65 dollars each to off set the cost of the refer truck and ice storage/supply, They supply the beer, Root beer, set up the booth and sell beer, all beer sales at each booth goes to that brewery. This event is being held on a private ranch so no permit processes were needed. Brewers are advised to check ID's and promote the product. We are anticipating 2500-3000 people for two days, I hope it goes well.

MCompton
08-10-2009, 07:35 AM
We have taken a decidedly more proactive stance on donating beer to festivals. Keeping all legalities in mind, we do not donate beer but will, if the circumstances are right, make a financial donation to the event an amount matching the cost of the beer (wholesale cost). We ask our distributor partners to participate as well since they will profit from any promotional value gleaned from the event along with us.

There seems to be an increasing number of promotional companies that are putting on festivals as a part of their business. We don't discourage that but there has to be some extrordinary circumstance for us to participate if they don't pay for the beer. By asking for a copy of their non-profit status we ususally get a clearer picture of who is profiting from the event. If the event has a non-profit partner we want to know what % the charity recieves.

As a result we are not attending as many festivals but we feel better about the ones that we do attend (on many levels). We believe that there is a win-win here if we remain disciplined in our approach.

Marty Compton
Sales Manager
Bell's Brewery, Inc.

beerking1
08-10-2009, 09:41 AM
do we really think that Sam A.'s is gonna stop giving away their beer? once the breweries get even close to that size, they act just like the Macros. its the nature of the thing I guess. maybe the local brewery should organize their own festivals and invite and pay other breweries for their beer???? I wonder??? :confused: :confused:

If small brewers stick to their guns and stick together on this, it won't matter much what SA, SN and other big micros do.
How many are going to want to attend a beer fest that only features SA, SN and the like? I think even those that do will soon tire of them.

v2comp
08-10-2009, 12:17 PM
We have taken a decidedly more proactive stance on donating beer to festivals. Keeping all legalities in mind, we do not donate beer but will, if the circumstances are right, make a financial donation to the event an amount matching the cost of the beer (wholesale cost). We ask our distributor partners to participate as well since they will profit from any promotional value gleaned from the event along with us.

There seems to be an increasing number of promotional companies that are putting on festivals as a part of their business. We don't discourage that but there has to be some extrordinary circumstance for us to participate if they don't pay for the beer. By asking for a copy of their non-profit status we ususally get a clearer picture of who is profiting from the event. If the event has a non-profit partner we want to know what % the charity recieves.

As a result we are not attending as many festivals but we feel better about the ones that we do attend (on many levels). We believe that there is a win-win here if we remain disciplined in our approach.

Marty Compton
Sales Manager
Bell's Brewery, Inc.

that sounds like an excellent strategy to me.

tsewong73
08-11-2009, 09:28 AM
Man! We have given away a LOT OF BEER in the past two seasons of beer festivals! After last year, I vowed that we would do no more than 1 festival per month from April through October. Well, idiot that I am, I agreed to do 7 festivals in three months. Three of them were awesome, but the other four sucked.

I've decided to approach festivals this way:
1. If the festival is paying for the beer (or at least a respectable stipend) and we get a hotel room, I'm there regardless of where it is.

2. If the festival isn't paying for the beer, then we have to at least get a hotel room and it has to be where our beers are distributed.

3. Even within these parameters, I have to be picky. I try to figure out what the festival-goers are going to be like. If they seem, historically, to be a bunch of douche-bags, then forget it. However, if they tend to be more appreciative of craft beer, then we'll go from there.

4. Another criteria that I consider is who the other brewers are. If there are a lot of brewing friends going, then I'll go. If there are some good breweries whose beers I've never tried, I'll go. I try to factor in how much fun the festival will be for me and the people I take to help me.

BlackandGold
08-11-2009, 10:09 AM
NEVER sell beer to douche-bags, no matter what.

northstarbrew
08-13-2009, 01:35 PM
NEVER sell beer to douche-bags, no matter what.

Cheers! That is great!

fcaseyf
08-14-2009, 05:51 AM
The bands get paid, the food vendors make money, no one will go to a festival and pay $30-$50 to have just those and no beer so why shouldn't the breweries get paid for the beer?

Brewtopian
10-01-2014, 09:21 PM
I've been on both sides of this issue. I was the organizer of one of the larger festivals in my region and always paid for the beer and never charged fees to the brewers. Our only requirements for participation was to either provide someone to work the table or provide 2 beers per day that were either not in the market at that time or were one offs.

Festivals are extremely expensive to put on. We would spend over $200,000 for our big event annually so don't be to hard on the organizers. That being said, they should be paying for the beer.

The people that need to be conditioned to pay for the beer at these events aren't the organizers its the people in attendance. They are exceedingly cheap and will complain like in our case about a $25 all you can drink event where the beer is served in 4oz sample cups.

headspace
10-02-2014, 09:58 AM
$25 for all you can drink? eek. That sets a precedent in and of itself, unfortunately.

I help put on a very small fundraising wine/beer event in my area and our local breweries graciously donate their time and beer to serve. They know that 100% of the proceeds go right back into our local community and that's why they do it. In the process they do get exposure in their area with the demographic they are looking for (our tickets are $60 per person). Rarely, do people get sloppy drunk at this event and people really enjoy talking to the brewer's staff about the beer they are serving. I think events can be a good thing, but it really depends upon how it's organized and marketed as to whether or not it will be beneficial to the breweries attending.