WA_Brewers_Fest (4)

Washington Brewers Festival 2013 – Pictures and Thoughts

Once again the Washington Brewers Festival was a huge success. This year, the largest crowds in festival history filled Marymoor Park in Redmond and filled their glasses with tasty Washington beer. In the end, more than 20,000 people attended this year’s festival.

On Saturday alone, attendance topped the 10k mark. I know that at certain times of day there were substantial lines to get in the festival, but when everyone shows up at (more or less) the same time, and many of them do not yet have tickets, something’s gotta give. We warned you about this. All in all, the Washington Beer Commission did a masterful job of running the event. And hey, how about the weather?

We were there all three days, start to finish. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth and said hello. In addition to just being there to meet and greet people, we offered information about Washington beer – “Ask Us Anything About WA Beer” was our theme. Wow, did that ever work out well! People have questions and appreciated us being there to provide answers.  We will likely expand the program next year to include guest experts at scheduled times. Stuff like that.

Our humble yet effective booth.

As craft beer gets more and more popular, we are attracting more and more craft beer newbies to festivals like this. These people need and want to know the difference between a Stout and a Porter. They need to know how to pronounce Saison. They need to know what SRM means (“A lot of beer geeks can’t even answer that one,” I told him). Why does this barrel-aged beer taste like vanilla? Why do Belgian-style beers taste like that? Why don’t more local breweries make lagers like Chuckanut and Alpine? These craft beer newcomers need to, and want to, get engaged in the dialog of craft beer. We were happy to be at the festival to help make that happen.

Two great additions to the festival this year. First, the Washington Beer Awards (see our post). Second, more food trucks. Since we have now successfully elevated the beer, let’s keep elevating the food. There was some amazing food at the festival this year. Personally, I chowed down on the an order of fish-n-chips from Fish Basket. And a pizza from Veraci Pizza (mobile wood-fired pizza oven).

Anyway, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is almost 30,000 words worth of pictures from the festival.

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  1. next year you need to do something about the long line to get in. When we arrived Sat. afternoon the line was about 300 yards long . about 2 hours. Some people left because it took too long.

  2. I am very thankful that WA Beer Blog warned us about the line, and the need to arrive early. We arrived at 12:30 on Saturday and only had to wait 15 minutes to get in (we had pre purchased tickets). When we left the line was ridiculous.

    Thank you Kendall!

  3. I know the Washington Beer Commission is aware of the problem and acknowledged. It will certainly be addressed in upcoming Events Committee meetings. Exactly what can be done, that remains to be seen. More gates, more lines, more security personnel. Who knows.

  4. Folks, on Saturday yes the lines were very long. We arrived at the worst time 1:30pm and endured it for about 15mins or more.

    On Sunday however, came an hour earlier and they switched the bag/security check to be further away. That made a huge difference, since as a 3 day advance ticket holder I could take my designated driver straight to the shortest line.

    So they did improve but only on the last day. Which is something I guess.

    They really need to improve it for advance ticket holders. We plan ahead but until Sunday suffered equally with those who had to cough up money on the date.

    Additionally there was confusion when they started up a “non” bag line in the left. Many with bags were then forced back into the regular line ( us ) slowing us down. People were cutting in. Some self policing on our part became necessary. We should be able to have a relaxing time in line not dealing with those with less manners.

    Once we got inside it was awesome.


  5. The lines were ridiculous. Rather than just complain, here are a few suggestions:
    1. Put clear, large signs up, which indicate what line is what. My daughter went through one line, only to find out her purse was considered a “bag” and had to then go stand in another line for an additional 20 minutes.
    2. Have hand held credit card scanners out near the parking lot so people can pay out there, show ID, etc. and then only have bag checked and bracelet put on at the gate.
    3. Do all the bag checking BEFORE people get to the pay lines.
    4. Add at least 5-10 pay stations. People hate to wait to pay money.
    5. If you are going to accept pre-payment, then have a special fast track entrance for those who do so. Otherwise, what is the point from the customer point of view?
    6. Love the festival, love the beer, please make it easy and FAST to attend.

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