Mark your calendars: Philly Beer Week is June 4-13, 2010.
Yes, we moved it from the first weekend of March. Believe me, this was an incredibly difficult decision, particularly because we had such great success in March over PBW’s first 2 years.
Why did we move it?
Conflicts with other dates, mainly. Many pub owners and distributors felt they were already busy on the weekends leading up to St. Patrick’s Day. Moving PBW would give them an added bang. There was some concern that responsible craft beer lovers are wrongly confused with the chug-and-puke crowd of the Erin Express. (Classic: I’m told that at the Good Dog, Erin Expressers - who were banned from the bar - referred to us as Beer Week Yuppies. Gotta love it.)
Additionally, the Zythos Festival in Belgium is the same weekend, which not only prevents Belgian brewers from visiting Philly (a/k/a Brussels on the Schuylkill), but also presents problems for Belgian importers and distributors. Further, the annual Flower Show - held the last week of February, first week of March - prevents PBW from ever expanding into the Convention Center.
And then there’s the weather. We were extremely lucky this year - the night of Opening Tap was one of the nicest days of the year. But in ‘08, we opened with a miserable storm. And it’s only a matter of time before the week is snowed-under or iced-over.
I opposed the move, mainly because I felt we’d already established ourselves in March. As one local bar owner, who also opposed the move, told me last night: “You don’t get off the winning horse in the middle of a race.”
That was the other challenge - if not March, when?
- Moving it into February was deemed untenable because of the weather and the Flower Show.
- Late March, early April runs into the Easter holidays - a perfectly good excuse to drink, in my opinion, but a bad time for out-of-town travelers, who tend to stay at home with their familes. The NCAAs are also in full swing then, making it a busy time for bars.
- May is graduation time, an exceptionally difficult period to book hotels in the city. Toss in Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, and you’ve got even more scheduling problems.
That brought us to June, which is not without its conlicts: Father’s Day, the bike race and a huge outdoor festival in Manayunk. I think PBW can work off all of those, however. I mean, if a guy can’t get a pass to spend the day drinking beer on Father’s Day…
The big plus for June, however, is the weather. Now, we can do more of our beer drinking outdoors. Some of the week’s best events - bike rides, beer-runs, sumo wrestling - are a lot easier to promote in 80-degree sunshine than under 35-degree overcast skies.
So… that’s the thinking that went into moving the date. Agree? Disagree? Personally, I don’t think it’ll matter on June 4th, 2010.