Straight Dope on the SAVOR Sell-Out Part 1
It was a given that SAVOR tickets would go fast, but who would have predicted they'd sell out in just 10 minutes?! Does U2 sell out that fast? (Well, actually, it took them about 20 years, but we digress.) We heard from several beer-geek friends who failed to get tickets to this year's craft beer and food pairing event planned for June 5 at the National Building Museum and didn't know what to say. We're as astonished as everyone else–so Tammy reached out to Julia Herz, Craft Beer Program Director at the Brewers Association to get some answers.
Herz, who lives in Boulder, Colorado, but grew up in Bethesda and fondly remembers family trips to The Brickskeller and other regional beer destinations in support of her brother's beer can collection, thinks SAVOR's popularity is a testament to the growing interest in how well beer can pair with food and the advanced beer culture that thrives in DC.
Despite unprecedented demand for this year's event, according to Herz the Brewers Association has no plan to add sessions or salons to accommodate more people. Instead, she says the Brewers Association is focusing all its efforts on making the single three-and-a-half-hour session the best it can be for the finite group of people (we few, we happy few...) who attend. For example, this year they are partnering with "Beer Chef" Bruce Paton to consult with caterers and breweries to help ensure that each food and beer pairing is exceptional, and they have added private tastings of less than 30 people who will be able to informally chat with the brewers while tasting their rare beers.
"It's not a festival," Herz explained. Unlike the Great American Beer Festival, the annual three-day, four-session Brewers Association event in Denver that gives 49,000 attendees access to over 2,000 beers from nearly 500 American breweries (Curious? Check out our 2009 GABF pics on FB), SAVOR is meant to be an intimate, world-class experience where a comparably small number of participants can "mix and mingle with each other while being personally served by some of the best craft brewers in the U.S."
It's disappointing that SAVOR organizers don't take a tip from U2 and add dates to satisfy the beer-loving throng, but Herz believes (and we agree) that the unofficial DC beer week that grows around SAVOR each year can help satiate many of the local beer fans who were not able to get tickets. We hope that DC beer bars will step up to plan a wealth of events over the course of the week that take advantage of having so many of the country's most talented brewers and their beers in DC at the same time.
Stay tuned for SAVOR Mania Part 2, in which we discuss the SAVOR pre-sale, who got tickets, and how breweries were chosen for the event with Brewers Association Event Director Nancy Johnson.