Day 294

If you work at a small craft brewery, chances are that occasionally you will be dispensing your product at beer festivals. Although this sounds easy, there are several steps you need to take to properly prepare yourself.

Feet: You are going to be standing behind your beer taps all day, so flip-flops, thin-soled sneakers, high heels and über-hipster loafers, while stylish, will leave you crying for mercy by the end of the day. Comfortable, well-cushioned shoes with good arch support look dumb, but who’s going to see your feet?

Ears: The more people there are, the more everyone has to shout to make themselves heard. Then add loud rock music. The result is an incredible assault on your hearing. For the same experience, try talking to someone while standing beside a gas-powered lawn mower.

Eyes: People will ask questions about your beer and your brewery. Since you won’t be able to make out what they say due to the noise, be prepared to read their lips. (To help your lipreading, do not give your beers similar sounding names, such as “Golden Wheat” and “Bold and Sweet”.)

Larynx: When you are answering questions, you too will be yelling. In order to avoid losing your voice after only a couple of hours, do this simple exercise once a day for a month with tools you can find lying around your house:

  • Take a large daily newspaper and a pair of earplugs, and lock yourself in a fairly sound-proof room.
  • Insert the ear plugs–no reason you should go deaf, at least not until the day of the festival.
  • Pick up the newspaper and read the newspaper stories out loud at a very high volume. By “very high volume”, I mean “scream”.
  • On the first day, limit yourself to 30 minutes of screaming. Increase your screaming by 30 minutes a day until you can read the entire newspaper from start to finish without strain.

You are now ready to communicate at a beer festival. (Note: If you have teenagers, you can skip this preparation since your ability to yell is already well-developed.)

Bladder: Remember to ALWAYS go to the washroom before the festival doors are opened and the crowds are admitted. The line-up for the washroom will form within minutes, and will only get longer as the day progresses. Inevitably you will trade samples of beer with other brewers. Show some willpower and limit yourself to a few sips, lest you are forced to join the lineup. As Mother Nature loves to remind us, we only rent the beer. (Skip this if you are female. Beer festivals are the one place where the line-up occurs outside the men’s washroom.)

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2 Comments on “Day 294”

  1. Canageek Says:

    I don’t remeber you having to yell that much…unless I was on my computer and you were trying to tell me it was dinner…or any other time you wanted to talk to me while I was on my computer…


  2. […] at a major beer show like this weekend’s Toronto Beer Fest is a bit different than working at a small craft-beer-oriented show. The small shows are usually a collection of the local craft brewers, who mainly attract between a […]


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