Vibrant Forest Beer Festival
In the meantime, please read on…
We’ve started to recover, physically and emotionally, from the weekend’s festival which saw a lot of beer sold and a lot of, generally, happy faces. However, there were a lot of disappointed people and we must address that.
We built our beer list to closely mirror the quantity that we had at last year’s festival. We did have a couple of smaller kegs (Farmhouse Chardonnay and Unfourseen Consequences) but we also had upped it by two kegs with our new Keg dispense machine. We also had a full complement of 11 cask beers, and 2 pins, with a couple of back ups on those beers we felt would run dry the quickest. However, as was patently plain to see at 15.15 (according to the start of the panicked texts within our brewery WhatsApp), we had grossly underestimated the impact the blazing sunshine would have on our supply. At that stage, all but a couple of casks were on their way out and the keg bar was giving up the ghost. By 16.00, we were the Vibrant Forest Cider and Summerlands Summer Festival. By 16.10, a couple of the team had returned with a further 12 kegs in the van. I’m told that those outside announced them with glorious uproar and support, to which we’re very grateful.
Obviously, the arrival of those kegs were well received, but of little use to folks who’d turned up in that 15.30-16.00 Dark Zone. If you turn up to a Beer Festival half way through, you might expect that the super rare or brand new bits might have run dry. However, if you turn up and nothing is on, that’s only our fault.
It is important to state we had similar stocks of beer as held at our previous festivals and the number of tickets sold were only slightly higher. In the past we have always had some beer remaining at the end of the evening so at the planning stage we thought we had got the quantity of beer about right. One of the food producers had sold out by late afternoon so this just shows how many hungry and thirsty people were present on the day.
The hall has approximately a capacity of 500 people and fewer tickets than that were sold (about 420 of 500 printed) which the quantity of beer should have allowed for. However, we believe that it is possible that people turned up without tickets, and merely had friends grab them beer from inside. The numbers in the hall and car park would suggest this. This wasn’t something we had anticipated and is something that we will make sure doesn’t happen at the next event. We absolutely appreciate people coming to enjoy our beer, but not at the expense of people who’ve bought tickets in advance. Our festivals are not a money making venture, but a celebration of great beer, friends and great times. That so many of our guest beers were collaborative this year demonstrates that. However, given the issues we faced, we do feel we’ve let down our fans who didn’t fully enjoy the experience they deserve.
We’re constantly up to our eyeballs in the brewery, it’s a business that’s an absolute privilege to be involved in, but it’s also a relentless business that rarely gives pause for thought. We admit that we dropped the ball on this count. We’ve had extensive chats over the last few days and this will not happen at our next festival. We, Kev, Bruce, Andrew, Jon and John, wholeheartedly apologise to those who didn’t feel the day lived up to expectation, and invite you to our next festival with the promise that we will be much better prepared.
So, to finish, a massive thanks to everybody who turned up on Saturday 12th August and apologies again for the difficulties in supply. Until then, as always, continue to drink great beer, support your independent pubs and bottle shops, and enjoy!