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.