If you are one of the lucky few then you have had the opportunity to make beer for a festival. This fall I was invited to brew for a small batch beer fest hosted by People Pint Brewing Co and for the legendary Cask Days. How does one get to participate in the opportunity? What burning hoops of fire must you jump through to make it legal? What does this do for you?
Depending on where you live there may be no way to legally do this or no festival in which you can do this. To you I am genuinely sorry because this is the best way I have been able to get feedback for my brews. For those of you that live in places that you can do this get stoked and get brewing! In my area a beer must be brewed at a licenced brewery and brewed under licence. Things may be different in your area so check and make sure! No need for the law to come rain on your parade. There are a few essential things you will need to have in order to be able to brew for a festival.
First of all you are going to need a homebrew club. More than just that you are going to need to be actively involved in it. There are many ways to do this but volunteering time to make special events like bulk buys, competitions and group activities happen is going to be your best bet. You now have a face that is know in your group and possibly by some pro brewers/people in the industry. Your group is probably the reason that homebrew is at the festival is a thing!
Next you need to obviously be a great brewer and a great person to deal with. Great brewer is fairly self explanatory. Make good beer but make different beer. Show off and share that killer RIS you aged on bourbon slats. Pop bottles of that orange raspberry gose you are so proud of. Be known for constantly placing medals in a specific category in competitions. When your name is brought up in the homebrew group people should associate some sort of beer with you that you are known for. To be a great person to work with you need to have a few different attributes. Be flexible. Do what works for others and do it with a smile. Include other people in what you are doing. Have a sense of leadership and overall “good vibes”. People notice this kind of thing and take note. Be willing to let other people have the better part of a deal because festivals will not always compensate you for brewing for them.
Be a go getter. Don’t harass everyone involved in the homebrewing part of a festival but when you hear about it find out who you know on the organization team. Grab a beer with them or shoot them a message. Express your interest and let them know you are flexible. Sometimes they may come to you and ask, other times you may need to plant the idea in their head. Don’t be pushy or annoying about it. If you haven’t heard any word about it and the festival is coming up in a few months maybe drop another line.
Hope this helps some of you fine brewers get to have this amazing opportunity!