Philly Loves Beer All Friggin Year

By Casey Parker, Philly Loves Beer Board President

I had the pleasure of being involved in the creation and planning of Philly Beer Week since the very first year. What feels like an eternity ago, around ten folks sat in the back bar at Monk’s and munched on Tom’s Sausages and Cheeses, and drank his beer, all while exploring this new idea of Beer Week.

I was pretty wide-eyed at that time. I was just psyched to be invited into the room with folks like Tom Peters, Don Russell, Bruce Nichols, Ellen Yin. Who else was there? Gene Muller I think? George Hummel? I think Carolyn Smagalski?

Even Nima was there, and that dude doesn’t go anywhere. Definitely others too, but like I said, there was beer. Listening to some really cool exciting ideas, and chiming in a bit cause I rarely shut up, I began to notice something.

With every single exciting idea there came two or three questions with it that would need to be answered to make the ideas work.

In years to come, we’d see that despite our efforts to try to make things crystal clear and easy, they would never be that, and there would always be questions about how we came to what and why.

Here are a few of my answers to some of those FAQs, in no way does this reflect other people’s feelings, just mine at the time.

Q – Why is Philly Beer Week 10 days long?
A – ‘Cause

Q – Why did Philly Beer Week move from March?
A – Too many blinky green lights in March

Q – Why shouldn’t we put Tommy Buonnano in a dunk tank wearing a banana suit?
A – We should

Okay, now for cereal.

Q – Why did you become Philly Loves Beer? Why not just be Philly Beer Week?
A – A couple of years ago we began the transformation from Philly Beer Week to Philly Loves Beer. This was to be a year-round organization that promoted everything that is the good, the bad, and the ugly about beer, bars, breweries, and “the biz” in Philly. Truth be told though, Philly Beer Week’s mission was always that! It’s not like after the first Philly Beer Week we all said, “Cool! See you guys next year!” It was quite the opposite. Just weeks after the hangovers subsided we were reviewing what could be better.

How could we make this a gazillion times better? Who was left out? How did we succeed? How did we fail? How do we continue to raise the awareness and visibility of one of our city’s most exciting qualities, the appreciation and presentation of incredible beer. We began to learn that after years and years of trying to do events outside of “Philly Beer Week”, events that would help continue to spotlight this mission year-round, we had a tendency of confusing some people.

It would become painfully obvious when throwing an event tagged with “presented by Philly Beer Week”, consumers would ask, “Wait! It’s Philly Beer Week?!” It’s the same reason Jose Pistolas started serving a Mexican beer. People would hear the name, come in and order a Corona, we’d say, “Sorry, we don’t serve shitty beer.” They’d say,” but your name?” We’d say, “but it sucks?” They’d say…..yadda yadda yadda, then we started selling Pacifico.

It stunk, but the argument just slowed everything down. We weren’t gonna die on that steers skull.

The Philly Loves Beer transition began a couple years ago, and these days everybody loves a good transition – at least they should. To me, that change was a sign of becoming more certain of who we are as an organization.

Now this kind of positive change never comes without some level of skepticism and doubt, and there will probably be tons of questions for a bit longer. We can answer those questions together as a community.

Philly Loves Beer is just right now coming into its own, and it has this wonderfully excruciating, helluva time called Philly Beer Week in the midst of it to celebrate the best of this community has to offer.

We get to put forward the best local beers, local breweries, the best local bars with some of the best staffs in the world. We get to show off how influential and awesome our distributors and importers can be. Most of all, we get to show off the best and smartest consumers anywhere during Philly Beer Week. Philly Loves Beer’s job is to remind you of it All Year Long.

Now that’s me taking my crack at answering one of the most frequently asked questions the incredible board of Philly Loves Beer gets. Of course, like I already said, there will always be questions.

Well, if you’re one who questions, then you’re in luck. I’ll be writing a monthly column called “FAQ WHO?” that will try to answer some of those frequently asked questions from our consumers and industry professionals alike.

If you’d like to submit a question or twenty please email us at: [email protected].

Thanks so much for listening, till then, drink happily.