Its Meet the Brewer not Reinventing the Wheel

A while back I saw a tweet from a Guardian lifestyle journalist which went along the lines of “What *is* a meet the brewer?”

Of course Guardian, lifestyle and journalist are also mutually exclusive terms that bear no relevance, as individual terms or as a collective, to sensible people and their enjoyment of life.  But I suppose they have a function if someone is willing to pay for that nonsense.

The thing is what *is* a meet the brewer (MTB)?  It seems I’ve been very lucky in all the ones I have attended.  On each occasion I’ve always actually met the brewer, listened to them talk about their beers, their brewery, their history and their future plans.  This is usually accompanied by food of some kind and a fair amount of beery samples to kick-start the discussions.  They are also always attended by home & commercial brewers alike.

Over the years it would seem that MTB events have either been misrepresented by the establishment hosting them (really they are a tap-takeover, a beer launch or such like) or the brewery has sent along a marketeer who knows lots about “brand brewery” but not much about anything else.

I suppose these in and of themselves would be quite irritating and a let down to those who were expecting something far more involved.

Of course what you don’t need is an over-priced event.

Forced food pairing with morsels probably made from ambergris and Zuzu’s petals to further justify an inflated ticket price.




And who honestly gives a fuck about any specially selected music either?

There is a certain pretension that doesn’t so much creep in as is at an event’s core and for me too many events can only exacerbate the pretext that “craft” beer is elitist.

It is obvious the MTB’s are less about the brewer and more about the attendees and an over emphasis and curation of a whole session of what is and isn’t consumed creates a claustrophobic scenario that is as unhelpful as any poorly constructed meet.


Thanks for reading.


4 thoughts on “Its Meet the Brewer not Reinventing the Wheel

  1. It’s a shame you feel this way – I’m also disappointed you didn’t cite any case studies in your argument. As such although I’m running an event similar to the negative point described I’m not going to automatically assume you’re referring to the event I’m running with Cloudwater next month.

    But I will use my event as a case study for my argument.

    So I’m sick of really shit meet the brewer events where everyone just stands around and the brewer stands in the corner just talking to people he knows. I’m not the most confident of guys, so I wouldn’t automatically go up and strike up a conversation. I’m lucky now that I’m in the industry and have a reason to talk to people who work for breweries – but I’m still not the most natural of conversation starters.

    Also with London being London, MTB’s that are unticketed and have some shit hot beers get fiercely crowded. I don’t like it – it’s the opposite of how I like to experience beer.

    So instead of just moaning about it, I thought I’d have a go at running my own. I’ve been doing this pretty successfully for the past 18 months but still thought there was room for improvement.

    The idea with my Cloudwater event is to create the intimate, relaxed environment I seek and make it as easy as possible for the customers to enjoy themselves with minimal effort. Food and beer all carefully considered and brought out at regular intervals – but a good selection on the bar if the customer wants to go and grab another beer, or event more food. It’s totally in there control. At the end of the day it’ll be 20-25 people sat in a pub, drinking beer and having a conversation that’ll be mutually beneficial for all parties.

    As for the music thing – In this particular case myself, Paul and the guys who own and run the Duke’s head are all ex-music industry. Music’s a big part of our lives and this is a natural extension of what we do. So I love to get music involved in my events, and people who attend seem to dig it.

    Anyway, beer is there to be experienced how you want and for me its by running events like the one I described above. If I can inspire people to run similar events that I can attend then all the better – but with so many beer events happening (Manchester is crazy busy with different events this weekend right?) then its easy to, well… ‘curate’ your own experience. For want of a better phrase.

    • Hello Matthew, there is no denying on my part that your piece was the inspiration to this rant but what I had planned was toned down somewhat after discussions I had with people who like their beer and some brewers themselves.

      It became abundantly clear that all the events I’d attended had done what they said on the tin…been a chance to meet the brewer and talk about the brewing of each beer and the idea behind the recipes, their evolution, etc, etc. This side is more appealing to me and while I like bits of gossip that inevitably come out, I’ve paid my money (the ones I’ve been to have been all ticketed) so I’d like to think the brewer is pretty confident they don’t need to oversell – and they haven’t.

      Speaking to others it is clear that some events in Manchester have become nothing more that the events you described in your piece and if this is happening in my city I dread to think of what it is like in the extremely crowded market down London way.

      You’ve got a vision and your putting it into play and people will pay their money to come and see, I have no doubt it will be a success and this will be in no small part to either you, Paul, Cloudwater and Dukes Head as you’ve all shown you know and care a lot about beer.

      So, with some irony, your shindig would probably be right up my street.

      I wish you every success.

      Now how about a free ticket?

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