Inventing an Event: Beer

One critical element of a successful event is beer.  All along we’ve been billing this event as “beer, beef and a band.” Let’s explore each of these elements as they relate to The Big D BBQ Battle.”

OK, enough of the professorial posturing, this is about finding a good brew, a great brand that matches yours at the right price and doing it all within the rules of the agencies who ask you to comply.

At first it was about quantity, price and availability, but I eventually learned that it was about trust, a partnership and working with people who take action and you like.

Enter Jeremiah Wallis of Lakewood Brewing of Dallas.  I met Jeremiah late in the process (a little over 2 weeks before the event) at another networking event.  His local brew attracted me by its taste and brand.  Plus, as a craft brew, I could buy direct and save the hassle of the two-step distribution of beer in Texas.  And the rules allowed for it.

It really all starts in Texas with a trip to TABC (Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission).  At first dreading the process, I found Terry Hing (and actually all of the permit-grantors in this saga) to be friendly, helpful and realistic. She walked me through the interview process and guided me as I collected the materials and document (and fees) I needed to have in order to file and obtain a permit.

A few hundred dollars and a notarized document later, we were in business.  I could sell beer for one day at a public event in Texas!

After some gymnastics trying to extract a deal from a local distributor who handled both another local craft beer as well as a restaurant chain’s craft, it just plain got confusing.  Sometimes you make deals for something other than price.  Thanks to an “angel” investor in our beer needs, we decided on the Lakewood brew.

Now comes the hard part: getting the beer to the site, icing it down and serving it (in cups and from taps provided by our brewer).  The TABC has allowed for three serving stations for our anticipated 1,500 guests.

Wish me luck.



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