The organizer of the inaugural Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival today announced that the festival has chosen the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma as its charity of choice. A portion of proceeds from the fest will go to the Food Bank. So, if supporting local craft breweries, hanging out with your fellow beer-drinking friends or just plain drinking good beer weren’t good enough reasons to mark the May 21 festival down on your calendar, now you have an even better reason. Support beer and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma by buying tickets for the OCBF. Tickets are available at www.tapwerks.com.
Right there you’ve got the latest addition the Mustang Brewing Co. family — cans of Washita Wheat and Golden Ale. The good people at Mustang just released this image today. We’ve been told to expect cans in stores first week of May. Mustang President Tim Schoelen also announced today that there will be a “Show Us Your Cans!” contest on Facebook, with a prize for the best picture of Mustang beer fans and their cans. That’s set to launch May 16, so put that on your calendar. One other Mustang thing to put on your calendar: second anniversary party, July 16, Wormy Dog Saloon, featuring the Turnpike Troubadours.
Here’s the latest installment in the highly regarded Five Questions With… series. Today, I bring you Greg Powell, general manager of Tapwerks and the driving force behind the inaugural Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival. The fest is scheduled for May 21 next to Tapwerks in Bricktown, and a total of 1,200 tickets are on sale now at www.tapwerks.com. Without further delay, here is my interview with Greg:
1. The Thirsty Beagle: Talking about the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival in general, why did you feel motivated to plan and run this event?
Greg Powell: We wanted Oklahoma City to have a craft beer festival that rivals any craft beer festival in the U.S. With so many great breweries in the state and region, having an event to celebrate that just helps to solidify Oklahoma’s spot in the ever-growing craft beer movement. We know we have a long way to go to grow this event into one of the nation’s best, but you have to start somewhere.
2. TTB: You guys recently unveiled the logo and started up a Facebook presence — what kind of reaction have you seen from the public?
GP: The Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival Facebook page is taking off. We are seeing a huge number of added fans every day. We are very happy with the positive feedback we have gotten on the logo and the event in general. We designed the logo to incorporate some Oklahoma themes. With the overall look being a take off the Route 66 sign, and the wheat in the logo, we think we accomplished that.
3. TTB: You also started selling tickets. How has that been going? Do people need to buy them quickly before they run out?
GP: Ticket sales have been pretty good so far, considering the only advertisement has been through social media outlets. We are starting a radio advertising campaign this week, and hope that it helps to get the word out. Tickets are limited however. We are only selling 1,200 tickets to the event, with 600 in the 1 to 4 p.m. session and 600 in the 5 to 8 p.m. session. It is difficult to get people to commit to something that is still a month down the road, but if someone knows for sure that they want to attend, I would suggest getting tickets now.
GP:Every local brewery I have talked to did not hesitate when we asked them if they would like to participate in the event. I think they like the idea of getting face time with not only their current fans, but also with anyone who has never tried their beer. It is difficult for local breweries to get their name out to the public because advertising/marketing is so expensive, so an event like this gets them lots of exposure for very little money. As far as distributors go, it couldn’t be easier to get them behind an event like this. We have gotten a lot of advice from them on how to coordinate an event like this. They have the experience that we have not yet gained, and their input and support has been greatly appreciated.
5. TTB:You guys have been selling all types of beer for years at Tapwerks; how has the emergence of so many locally brewed beers helped or changed things?
GP:We love the idea of locally brewed beers. Not only does it help with the local economy, but it helps grow our state’s beer culture. We have a lot of guests that come in and ask for something that is brewed locally, so being able to continually increase the number of beers we can offer them is great for business. Also, with Bricktown being such a great tourist destination and hangout for business travelers, we get to educate people from around the U.S. (and world) about the great things that Oklahoma breweries are doing.
There you have it, beer fans. Thanks to Greg for taking time to answer some questions about the OCBF. All the state’s beer makers will be there, so be sure to snap up a ticket while you can.
…for another Wednesday night at the Northwest Oklahoma County Memorial Sports Coliseum.
Is it too late to use a Charlie Sheen reference in my blog title? Hopefully not! Saw some super-fantastic news posted on the Hideaway Pizza Facebook feed yesterday. They have added an Oklahoma craft beer section to their beer menus. WOOT! As far as I can tell, the menu includes Marshall’s Sundown Wheat, Atlas IPA, Old Pavilion Pilsner and Revival Red Ale, COOP Native Amber and Choc Last Laugh (the latter just happens to be Mrs. Beagle’s favorite beer!). Get the industrial-sized tub of fried pickles and dipping sauce ready, baby!!!
Yesterday I brought you my picks for the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs, where I picked Chicago to advance to the finals. Today, I bring you my Western Conference predictions and my finals pick.
Western Conference First Round
Call me crazy, but I’m picking Memphis to take this series. I was leaning that way before Manu Ginobili got hurt, now I feel a little better about the pick. There’s just something about Memphis that scares me a little. Throw in the fact that Memphis is not that far removed from being a five or six seed, and my memories of Golden State unseating the No. 1-seeded Mavericks a few years ago, and I’m sold.
Pick: Grizzlies in 7
Without David West, things do not look good for the Hornets against the two-time defending champs.
Pick: Lakers in 5
Portland, like Memphis, is a frisky team to me. Seems like they have a good amount of weapons with Gerald Wallace on board, and Lamarcus Aldridge may actually force Dirk to have to guard, which could take the German out of his offensive flow.
Pick: Trail Blazers in 7
Oklahoma City may be the hottest team in the league at the moment, and Denver trash talking and forcing the likes of Durant and Perkins to play angry is probably not a good idea.
Pick: Thunder in 5
Western Conference Semis
Although the Thunder struggled against Memphis to an extent in the regular season, the Grizzlies won’t be able to handle OKC’s revamped, full-strength lineup and home-court advantage.
Pick: Thunder in 6
Portland isn’t quite big enough, or tough enough, to handle the Lakers, who benefit from a fully healed-up Andrew Bynum.
Pick: Lakers in 6
Western Conference Finals
Pick: Lakers in 7
Speaking of not quite ready, the Bulls lack the savvy and championship experience of their finals counterparts, and an aging Lakers team makes one last run at glory as they secure Phil Jackson his fourth three-peat.
Pick: Lakers in 6
Tickets are now on sale for the first Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival, scheduled for May 21 at Tapwerks in Bricktown. TTB blogged last week about the fest.
To score your tickets, go to the Tapwerks website link right here.
I love Avery White Rascal. So it was with great concern that I heard the news yesterday that for the foreseeable future, I might not be able to get any here in Oklahoma. Our fair state is included in a list of eight states that Avery is pulling its beer out of. The good news, for Avery, is that the demand for their beer is so strong, they can’t keep up with the size of the market they’ve created. Good for them. Avery fans in Oklahoma and seven other states (as well as parts of some other states) get the bad news. Here’s a news release the brewery sent out to explain the situation:
BOULDER, COLO. – Avery Brewing Company plans to withdraw from eight states and seven other partial-state markets beginning (this month). Faced with skyrocketing demand — first quarter 2011 production growth for their home state of Colorado is 81% and overall production growth is 75% — the brewery has been forced to make the tough decision or lose the ability to support all markets with a steady supply of fresh beer.
Beginning (this month) beer shipments will be ceased to Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Avery Brewing Company hopes to re-enter these eight states at some point in the future once production capacity can catch up with demand. The brewery is also leaving several partial state markets, including: Northern California (Bay Area and Sacramento), Eastern Arkansas, Upstate New York (outside of New York City), Central Florida (Orlando area) and Wisconsin.
Avery Brewing Company would like to extend a sincere and heartfelt thank you to those who have supported us — and our beers — in these markets over the past years. To our distributors and their hard working sales staff, to our retailers in on-premise and off-premise channels who have promoted our products with zeal and passion, and to our loyal customers and fans who have challenged their palates and enjoyed our beers over the years: thank you, thank you, thank you!! Our apologies for any frustrations this change brings your way. According to Avery Brewing President/Founder Adam Avery, “We all feel terrible about having to pull out of these markets. No matter how you cut it, it is disappointing that we’ll no longer be able to serve our loyal fans in these areas. “ Ted Whitney, National Sales Director at Avery Brewing Company, added, “This is certainly unfortunate, but it was done with the best intentions. It’s about getting fresher beer and better experiences for our customers.”
Avery Brewing Company is one of several craft breweries to announce such cuts in 2011, but these disappointing changes are actually the sign of a very positive trend in the industry. Exponential sales growth for craft brewers can only mean one thing: the craft beer movement is on fire, attracting more followers and gaining mindshare with people of all demographics across the country. More fans means more market potential for all of the craft industry, and that’s a very good thing that will bring more great beer into the lives of Americans everywhere. Here’s to American craft beer in 2011 and beyond!
Got word today of a couple new additions to the tap line-ups at Tapwerks and McNellie’s OKC.
-At Tapwerks, COOP Ale Works’ new Farmhouse Ale will be on tap starting tonight. I wrote a little about the Farmhouse Ale right here. Limited supplies of this are available.
-Earlier today, McNellie’s OKC hooked up a keg of Great Divide’s Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti. Sounds excellent, and I would imagine it won’t be around very long.
The NBA regular season came to a close last night, and now it’s time to turn our attention to what really matters: the playoffs. It’s also time for a playoff prediction extravaganza here on TTB blog. So let’s get ready to rumble, playoff style! We’ll start with the Eastern Conference today, then bring you the Western Conference and Finals picks tomorrow.
Eastern Conference First Round
Indiana wins the race to futility, also known as the eighth seed in the east, by finishing up eight games under .500. The Bulls finished with a slightly better record.
Pick: Bulls in 4.
The Heat will be too desperate for success to let a scrappy 76ers team derail them in the first round.
Pick: Heat in 5.
The addition of Carmelo Anthony led to the Knicks having Carmelo, Amare and Chauncey, and not much else. The Celtics have too much pride not to scrape by in round one.
Pick: Celtics in 6.
Orlando has to rely too much on Dwight Howard, whose poor foul shooting and propensity for technicals will get the Magic in trouble.
Pick: Hawks in 7.
Eastern Conference Semis
Unlike in the Orlando series, the Hawks won’t be bailed out by the inadequacies of the Bulls’ best player.
Pick: Bulls in 6.
This has the potential to be a real knock-down-drag-em-out-bad-blood affair. The Celtics are struggling a little without Kendrick Perkins, but there’s just enough pride left in the tank for Boston’s Big 4 to avoid laying down for Miami’s Big 2.5.
Pick: Celtics in 7.
Eastern Conference Finals
The Celtics, exhausted from their street brawl with the Heat in the previous round, show that they’re a little too long in the tooth to bounce back and overtake the young, energetic and peaking Bulls.
Pick: Bulls in 6.
Check back tomorrow for the Western Conference and Finals picks.