Beer Release: How to Host a Party

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Own a budding new brewery? Successfully crafted brew for decades? Freshly minted nano-brewer? Share news about your latest hoppy libation by throwing a beer release, a prime opportunity to gain new customers and reward existing fans. Beer releases become market research labs. Tune into customer feedback and gain valuable insights into their preferences and tastes. Bonus: These events just might spur new beer batch ideas.

beer and brew releasesSelect a Perfect Venue
Beer release locations are key. If your brewery holds capacity for guests, this would make a spectacular location. Need a space? Reach out to some of the businesses you sell to. They will have incentive to help advertise new beer to sipping enthusiasts. A win-win. Pick a venue that fits your company or brewery personality and offers a setting suitable for coiffing your brew. Venues set the mood for your beer release. Provide the venue with branded swag and signage a few weeks prior to the event so the place can advertise for you. Note: Distributors often take care of this step for larger breweries. Don’t let this slip through the crack for your release.

Set the Mood
Keep your beer release simple. The fewer moving parts to an event the easier it is to engage your fans and enjoy the ride. After all, the main attraction is drinking beer. Arrive well before the event to set up, prepare for last-minute (or unexpected) logistics and be ready for loyal fans. Bring giveaways. Make sure you are open and available to speak with everyone. Attendees adore opportunities for face time with brewers and owners. Put your social game face. Beer releases where you circulate also open you up networking possibilities that could boost your business. Make sure a brew master or official representative who has intimate knowledge of the beer is there to chat with attendees. Prepare for questions about chemistry, ingredients or equipment. Chances are home brewers and beer geeks will attend and they are as passionate about the craft as the final product.

beer and brew release eventsEngage Your Crowd
Drawings interest any audience. Give away pint glasses or t-shirts and you not only give a gift, but the receiver can advertise for you every time the gift is used. Tasting together with your customers allows you to you add depth to your brew by giving insights. Talk about the different spices and ingredients. Point out key notes that your fans should be tasting. Themed trivia is also another way to captivate eager beer lovers. Study your audience over the course of a few events and bring back interactive favorites at your next beer release.

Plan Ahead to Draw a Crowd
Advanced planning makes all the difference. You will have a captive audience at your beer release, a perfect time to let people know about future events, recent business successes and news. Advertise and ticket your release event well in advance. Waiting until the last few days to release ticket sales may work for some breweries, but don’t count on a sell-out event without advanced ticket sales. Better to have a half full event than cancel due to low sales. Beer drinkers also benefit from early planning to arrange designated drivers and invite friends.

Feed Beer Drinkers
Good beer needs good food. If your host location doesn’t serve food, find a caterer or food truck. Keep it affordable for your brew crew. Anyone throwing a beer release needs to make money back on these event types. But food also says thank you. By have affordable meal choices, guests stay longer, drink harder and smile more. Food and beer combo will keep people coming back for all of your beer release.

Follow Up
Guests are gone. Kegs are empty. Venue is cleaned up. Now what? Take time to reach out to your guests and fellow event producers to thank them for a wonderful time. Send an email to attendees within days after the beer release: thank them for joining, alert them of other events, encourage them to follow you on social media.Ready for inspiration?

Find breweries and other libations celebrated at various beer, wine, spirits events across the United States. Create a beer release event now.

Want more tips or help setting up your beer release through Brown Paper Tickets? We’re here 24/7. And we love beer. Our knowledgeable client service reps are available for events, and our local food & beverage specialist will be happy to help with logistics free of charge. Brown Paper Tickets also offers free promotional assistance. Contact us at (800) 838-3006 or email us at support@brownpapertickets.com.

Brewery image: Bernt Rostad

NYC Beer and Brewing History

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beerweek2014mhedits33percentThis week on Foodie Friday, we have a guest blog from The Beer Wench, also known as Jena Ellenwood. Ellenwood is an Astoria, New York based actress, writer, bartender and beer geek. Jena is a graduate of The New School and is currently studying for her Cicerone License. She enjoys a good story and a good brew, and usually finds one leads to the other.

I am a beer geek. There, I said it. While reviewing the plethora of events for this year’s NY Craft Beer—dinners, tastings, parties—I got most excited when my eyes fell on Drink Local: NYC Beer and Brewing History panel discussion in Brooklyn. My sister Liz joined me and we hit the town.

Covenhoven, a cozy little taproom that opened March 2nd, was our host for the evening. Bill and Molly, the husband and wife team behind Covenhoven, were warm and welcoming, as was their establishment. One wall of the shop displays old kitschy beer trays, while the opposite wall is kept free to host rotating murals painted by local artists. In the summer the front garage doors will roll up, and the doors to the patio will be left open. Turns out they use to run an art gallery in the space, but after having a few pints and being inspired by other local beer centric joints–Bierkraft and Spuyten Duyvil–they decided to merge their loves of art, community, and beer to open a kick-ass little spot to merge all three.

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Foodie Friday: Leftovers and Writing Your Household Menu

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6929927631_1368749976_bEating well can often be rather expensive. With our economy down and costs on the rise, more and more of us are finding less butter on the edge of our bread. Cooking a well sourced and balanced meal is always going to take a little investment no matter how you look at it. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t eat well through the entire week. By applying a little budgeting, careful planning, and stretching techniques, you can have your cake and eat it too. Then make cake lollipops with the leftovers.

Planning a weekly menu is something that requires a little more foresight than stopping by the store on the way home from work. It’s worth the effort! Carefully planning your weekly grocery shopping to coordinate multiple dishes will save you both time and money. Chefs do this all the time when planning for their restaurants with great success. Try starting your week by sitting down with a stack of cookbooks or using the internet to decide what types of recipes you might feel like cooking. After all, while sticking to a budget is important, it’s more important to like the food that you are eating.

When you approach your menu, consider ingredients and how they might carry over across all of the recipes you plan to make. If you are particularly fond of spicy recipes maybe garlic, onion, and chilis are purchased in greater bulk. When you buy things in larger quantity you can often find deals or coupons such as “buy one get one free.” These deals will help you save a dollar here or fifty cents there until, perhaps, you have enough for a bottle of wine to go with your meal. Purchasing in this manner gives you stability as well as frees up options for later in the week. (more…)

Boozie Friday: Cider – A Delicious Beverage and Ingredient

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1086683117_c2f524cc8f_zLast Sunday, a wonderful event took place here in Seattle. The Seattle Wine and Food Experience packed the spacious exhibition hall at the Seattle Center putting wine, beer, spirits, food and cider in the spotlight. The proceeds from this marvelous event went to Les Dames d’Escoffier Seattle, a 501c3 non-profit organization comprised of female leaders in food, beverage and hospitality whose mission is education, advocacy and philanthropy. It’s wonderful to see this incredible organization supported by such strong attendance. The event sold out which undoubtedly put some decent funding toward their cause.

One thing that struck me at the event, was the growing interest in craft ciders amongst American food and booze enthusiasts. With the rise of artisanal products and the ever growing farm-to-table movement here in the United States, this old standard is back in fashion. Drinkers in England and other parts of the world have enjoyed cider for many generations. However, here in the United States, the temptingly tart/sweet beverage didn’t really enjoy the same success. Grain used to brew beer was cheaper and more readily available than the cider apple and the cost was the loss of a great libation. However, after prohibition, cider began to re-gain popularity and today you can find a fine craft cider in almost any bar, grocery store or liquor store. Even well established beer brewers like Stella Artois are making their own apple brew: Cidre. Based on what I saw at the Seattle Wine and Food Experience, larger companies definitely have their hats in the ring, but smaller, craft ciders seem to dominate the arena here in the Pacific Northwest.

Cider can vary in sweetness and be combined with other flavors for fantastic results. Some common flavors added to a good cider are berry, ginger and, of course, the flavor of oak barrels. In many ways cider can be treated the same as wine or beer in that it pairs well with food. Cooking with cider is also a fantastic option for the more adventurous chef and it can replace white wine in many situations. However, before attempting that, you should probably try some of the different cider on the market. Some of the tastiest and notable include Teiton Cider Works, Eaglemount Wine & Cider, 2 Towns Ciderhouse, and Woodchuck Hard Cider.  Of course, with hundreds of cider makers worldwide, this list could have easily gone on and on but you get the idea.

Want to try your hand at cooking with cider? Well, you’re in luck. Included below is my recipe for Roasted Pork Loin with an Apple Cider Mustard Sauce. Enjoy! (more…)

Foodie Friday: Waffle Club

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Waffles

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But we don’t always have time in the morning do we? Sometimes it’s fun to have breakfast for dinner or as a group activity like snack time. Waffles have been enjoyed at any time of day since medieval times. Originally waffles were a variation on communion wafers, and over time have evolved into what we have now. We have certainly come a long way since then and the results are staggeringly delicious.

Waffles come in many shapes, sizes, textures, and flavors. They can be topped with almost endless variations of different ingredients or served all on alone. There are waffle cones, stuffed waffles, and chicken & waffles just to name a few of the creative variations you might find. When concocting your batter make sure that you allow enough for a test waffle or two. This will allow you to taste and adjust your batter before you serve the final product. When following recipes don’t be afraid to make adjustments according to your own preference.

Around the Brown Paper Tickets headquarters office we have started a weekly waffle-based ritual. Each person that works on Sunday and participates, has taken a turn as the “Batter-UP.” When it’s your turn to bring waffles you are responsible for providing enough batter and whatever special toppings you choose for everyone. There have been some interestingly delicious creations rolling through so far and surely a great many more to come. Among some of the most interesting include but are certainly not limited to:

James – Classic Waffles, Cinnamon Waffles
Sam – Pumpkin Spice Waffles, Super Crispy Almond-essence Waffles
Megan – Ginger Waffles
Ashton – Smores Waffles
Kathleen – Chocolate Chai, with Pink Sea Salt and Whipped Cream/Chocolate Syrup (Gluten-free), Buttermilk Waffles with Ezell’s Fried Chicken
Susanne – Rosemary Ham and Gruyere/Chedder Cheese Waffles
Antoine – Oreo Waffles with hand-whisked Whipped Cream
Diana – Classic Waffle topped with Blackberry Preserve, Brie, and Basil
Patrick – Sourdough Waffles, Banana Chocolate Chip, Orange Waffles

Hopefully our waffle club inspires you to whip up a batch of crispy delicious waffles with your own twist added. It’s a lot of fun to make a group activity out of it, and I think we enjoy it immensely. Waffle day is a great way to bring a group closer together and get to know them on a level only reached through food. Sharing ideas and time together around the most simple of concepts is truly a joy. Waffle up! (more…)

Food Bank Volunteer Day

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Brown Paper Tickets staff volunteer at Seattle food bankBrown Paper Tickets offers every employee 40 paid hours annually to volunteer. Today, several of us sorted, stacked and stocked shelves at a local food bank with bread, produce, meats, staples.

Seattle’s Ballard Food Bank empowers people while providing vital nutrients. 1,400 clients are served weekly. Shoppers cruise the aisle with carts and choose their own items. Unlike other food banks, this one offers plenty of organic food, gives people an option to volunteer in exchange for groceries and designed their warehouse like a grocery store. Bonus: Everyone gets fresh flowers.

It was heartening to meet people from all walks of life and an honor for Brown Paper Tickets to pay us to support our neighbors. Paid volunteer time is just one way Brown gives back.

Foodie Friday: Chocofest 2014

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chocofest-14-flyer1Trying something new can be exciting, frightening, and even disastrous. This may be true, but you never know until you give it a shot. Ray Bradbury said “The best scientist is open to experience and begins with romance – the idea that anything is possible.”

Valentines Day, for many, is a time dedicated to romance between two individuals and their shared connection. Romance can also exist between two ideas or creations. Such is the case for chocolate and beer according to Pike Brewing Company’s annual affair Chocofest. This annual event has been running for six years and continues to make attendees get all mushy. (more…)

Foodie Friday: Adventures In Cheese

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IMG_4063IMG_4063Have you ever had a night that was so amazing you just wanted to live it over and over, again and again? That was my night at the West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational.

The Cheesemonger Invitational is a competition to see which cheesemonger is the best at their craft. The invitation went out to all mongers to compete and 35 mongers answered the call. Selling cheese requires more than just liking cheese and this is what this competition is all about.

For those competing, the event started at 9am and, for the top ten, went until late in the evening. Their day started with a written exam followed by a blind tasting, salesmanship contest, cutting competition and finished with the creation of their perfect bite of cheese. That is when the public came in. At 5pm the doors of Public Works in the Mission District opened and allowed cheese-lovers in.

I never thought I would say that it was almost difficult to eat 35 bites of cheese, each was better than the first and I always wanted to go back for more. Luckily my cheese needs were met by an amazing fondue bar and grilled cheese stand along with samplings that were available from some of the amazing cheesemakers and suppliers who attended the event. (more…)

Boozie Friday: The Need for Mead

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3476583742_d01766414f_bThrough the long, complicated development of medicine we have made the occasional happy accident. Coke and Pepsi are two very good examples as they were originally meant to be digestive aids and were invented for that specific reason only to later become a sweet treat. But way before there were soft drinks and aspirin there was something a with a little more kick. Mead is wine made from fermenting water, honey, and various other ingredients. It can be made sweet like a dessert wine or be on the crisp side. Mead may include medicinal herbs and spices or fruit to add flavor and health benefits.

There are currently two different kinds of mead bubbling away on the counter in my house. The anticipation is killing me, but I know it will be worth the wait once finished. This is my first attempt at mead making so the process has been admittedly one of discovery. It has however been surprisingly easy to do and I suggest giving it a try sometime yourself. Mead can be made with very few ingredients and little equipment and will have you on the edge of your seat for quite some time.

Brewing mead is an adventure all on it’s own. If you are interested in brewing, you will need a few key items and ingredients to get started. These things can be collected a piece at a time over a few months so you don’t break the bank in the process. Over time you will build a respectable brew set up and be turning out batches of your favorite mead variations on a consistent basis. Find your groove with this process and you will hopefully get the satisfaction and therapy out of the process you are looking for.

Brew on! (more…)

Foodie Friday: Ghormeh Sabzi – A Super Food

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539wCooking with herbs and other leafy greens is a delicious and very nutritious way to go. With organic farming making huge waves we are provided an ever-growing selection of fresh, healthy options to for us to cook with. Nutrient rich dishes are growing more and more popular in part due to this increase of awareness and availability. These healthy meals have always been popular in kitchens all over the world, you just have to know where to look. Although you can easily grab all of those great ingredients and throw them into your juicer for a supercharged glass of go-juice, once in a while it’s nice to site down and savour your health food.

Ghormeh Sabzi is a traditional Iranian stew that embodies health on many levels. If there ever was a super food, this has got to be one of them. It has been around for well over five hundred years and it’s a real favorite of mine. I always feel great after eating it. This dish is usually served with polow which is a specifically prepared long grain rice. This Persian-style rice takes a lot more work but is most definitely worth the effort. When making polow there is a crust of golden brown rice that forms at the bottom of the pot called tahdig. This highly-prized, crispy treat is usually dished up for special guests since it is in short supply and considered very special.  This succulent stew also can easily be made as a vegan dish by simply leaving out the meat, adding potatoes, or adding anything you like.

Make the recipe your own and enjoy the slow methodical preparation because that’s healthy too. Be well! (more…)