This year’s European Beer Bloggers Conference is coming to Dublin – good.
I mean that. It’s great that one of Europe’s up-and-coming beer cities has drawn in an increasingly popular and high profile (well, on my Twitter feed, at least) event. I’m proud of what my adopted home city has to offer in terms of a beer scene, so naturally I was delighted that EBBC 2014 is coming to town.
However, I’ve had a bit of a look at what’s on the menu for this two-day event. It turns out that rather than being the local-beer-talent-boosting event I hoped for, what we’ll be seeing in late June will be a good auld bit of corporate back-slapping and knacker-tickling.
Rather than whinging indiscriminately for pages and pages, I’ll make my gripes about this event brief:
Main Event Sponsor One:
“Hosts Guinness & Smithwicks are delighted to welcome the European Beer Bloggers Conference to St James’s Gate in Dublin for an evening of beer discovery, tasting and dinner. Here you will uncover the craft of making the Iconic Irish Stout, Guinness and Superior Irish Ale, Smithwicks.”
Ah, those lovely lads and lasses at the bastion of quality Irish brewing are hosting the beer lovers.
The same lovely lads and lasses who pay to do this:
Every year on their Marketing Orgasm Day (sorry, Arthur’s Day) when they literally decide to kill off the independent competition.
Main Event Sponsor Two:
Now, these Canadian monoliths do have some kind of place at the Irish Beer Table (whether we like it or not) after having purchased Cork’s Franciscan Well Brewery back at the end of 2012.
However, the fact that the “Beer Dinner’ they’re providing on the second night doesn’t just focus on their Irish beer portfolio (which is, to be fair, pretty good), but instead includes both Sharps (UK) and Blue Moon (errm?!) rankles with me a bit.
Bringing people to Ireland, a country with a blossoming but tiny beer scene, and giving them imported gear purely to promote the parent brand (Molson Coors’ wonderfully named “Craft Collection”) seems, well, shitty.
I understand that events like these require sponsorship, but how much bloody sponsorship in all fairness? Attendees each pay around a hundred quid, which surely must go some way to renting out an area of a bar (that, for the record, does pretty economical room rental) for a couple of days.
There will doubtlessly be highlights: a pub tour with Reuben, the actual content (hopefully), and an afterparty hosted by true Irish indie brewing stalwarts, Carlow. I’m looking forward to getting Europe’s bloggers across to see what Dublin’s all about; but, unfortunately, the above reasons mean I’m not going to be in attendance.