I DRINK ON THE JOB - THE BLOG

Whisky or Whiskey – It’s Still Hot in the U.S.!

February 14th, 2016 • No Comments

American Whiskey is Hot right now..but Whisky (the spelling in the UK .. ) is also on the comeback run – especially Scotch!

whiskylivedc2Whisky Live is coming back to New York and Washington, D.C. -the Whisky Live DC Event has special $99 priced Tickets Here and it’s on Saturday, March 5th, 2016. If it’s close to last year’s quality, it’s a steal..On the other hand, if money is no object, or you really want to step up your game, if you’re in Washington, D.C. the same week, you could also attend the 1st Year for Washington, D.C. WhiskyFest  on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 put on by the Wine Spectator/Malt Advocate people. This event Sells Out every year in other markets (in Chicago it sells out in less than 1 day!), because it’s frankly worth it! Yes, the ticket is $245 (which says Early Bird – but I think that price will remain until it’s Sold Out..), but you truly get what you pay for!distilluactualstills

Some more interesting whisk(e)y events coming up in March 2016 include a Distillery University 5 Day Hands-On Workshop in Spokane, Washington. It’s priced at $1,999 (the price goes up to $2,499 on February 22nd) which is actually very reasonable – I’ve seen some of these workshops sell for $5K and above..and if you figure in that they have alot of great experts teaching the class – Plus you get hands-on at an actual Distillery – Tinbender Craft Distillery – what a great way to become part of the Craft Spirit Revolution!

On Saturday, March 12, 2016, the Washington Distillers Guild presents the South Sound Spirits Gathering at the Olympic Flight Museum in Tumwater, WA.

Looking around the rest of the U.S. for craft spirit events and festivals: NYC will have both the Whiskies and Spirits Conference and Whisky Live – New York the same week – February 23rd and 24th, respectively at Chelsea Piers. The Week after on March 3rd is the 7th Annual Good Spirits which is also chefs and cocktails.

The Illinois Craft Distiller’s Guild is holding Distillinois at the Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago on March 1, 2016 – it will feature almost exclusively craft distillers from Illinois. WhiskeyFest Chicago sold out in a matter of minutes, but it’s being held March 18th at the Hyatt Regency.

Friday, March 4, 2016 hop in your private jet and head over to Las Vegas for the Nth Ultimate Whiskey Experience at the Encore at the Wynn – truly a high-roller event with tickets starting at $525 – but you can spend way more if you add on some more unique experiences offered!

Heading to California, San Jose has the Whiskies of the World on Thursday, March 24th at the San Pedro Square Market and Whiskies of the World San Francisco on Saturday, March 26th at Pier 3 on the Embarcardero.

April has a few more Spirits events – but that will be a future posting – Cheers to the recognition of a major shift in America’s drinking habits!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

 

 

Foodcations Are The Only Way to Travel

January 7th, 2016 • No Comments

2015-12-09 11.26.26Saw this wonderful article on “Foodcations” in Thrillist – and it makes total sense! The new vacation is all about experiences and having unique moments that are extraordinary or at least entertaining. Not just for Foodies, but for pretty much all travelers who are looking for the next cool experience, there is nothing more amazing than discovering the next local donut shop, tasting the newest local craft beer or cocktail, or making chocolate in a local chocolate factory – these are just too much fun NOT to do!

The article also mentions that being a “hipster” or “Foodie” is just a label and doesn’t really say that much – in other words, everyone has some “hipness” or “foodieness” – it’s really a matter of degree. I am a serious Foodie – and like many serious Foodies I want to taste my way through a city – food festivals, cooking classes, food tours, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries and all that I can get my mouth around – so to speak! This is essentially why I started TasteUSA – as a way for me to make a living and enjoy what I feel most passionate about.2015-10-04 18.28.15

So what should you do on your Foodcation?

1)Plan according to your date and time first. You probably aren’t going to travel very far outside your region (say more than 100 miles) unless you have the time and probably some kind of hotel or AirBnB involved, so take that into account first. Pretty much any place can be a foodcation destination, so their’s vast flexibility after this.

2)Be creative. Depending on if you’re an “adventure-seeker” or pretty limited in your culinary interest/prowess, you can find something fun, foodie and will kill 3 hours or so of time. I always choose a basic interest – food or drink – and then Google that interest with the region. For example, say I’m visiting Philadelphia – I recently had plans to attend the Valley Forge Beer and Cider Fest just outside Philly. When I went to the site, I realized that Valley Forge was close to a town called “Phoenixville, PA”. I AirBnb’d the region, found an affordable room in the region and discovered that Phoenixville – population somewhere around 2,000 people – actually has it’s own downtown, Brewery, Wine tasting room, Cidery and Distillery – whooaaahhh!! I ended up visiting the Brewery – Stable 12 Brewing Company – for a flight of beers and then I also ended up going to a most unique experience: the Firebird Festival – essentially a Bacchanalian burning of a wood pyre shaped like the legendary “Phoenix” bird – and of course, there were tons of food trucks nearby! YouTube Preview Image. The next day for lunch I found on Yelp that there was an outdoor Texas BBQ truck with highly rated BBQ – so that was a no-brainer for lunch!

3)Google, but Add Other Online Resources as You Go. Yelp of course is a fantastic resource for Restaurants and related food businesses. But you should also check out the local brewery/winery/distillery sites – and of course add TasteUSA to the mix for fill-in. Each State often has it’s own winery/brewery/distillery associations but the quickest way to find out is to Google “winery map” or a related search – normally, this will take you right to the State Association’s page and save you some time. Even as simple a search as “City/wineries” can be an amazingly fruitful return of excellent usable data. I didn’t end up going to any wineries on my Phoenixville foray, but there is a PA Wineries Association.

Bluebird Distillery in Phoenixville, PA!

Bluebird Distillery in Phoenixville, PA!

4)Talk to Actual People. I know, so Old School – but your locals often know a thing or two about their Region! Personally, I meet the most interesting and informative people in a bar, but you may have a family and that may not be your type of destination. I met some nice people at the Stable 12 Brewing Company over beers and they told me about the region and what was happening in Phoenixville – turns out that it’s kind of a hip new destination spot as a bedroom community to the Philly Region and that’s why there is so much desirable development going on!

5)Leave Time to Explore. Too many travellers have to have every moment planned out – but it’s amazing what you can do with an Iphone and a little free time. It’s way more fun to sketch-out an itinerary and once you arrive to make adjustments to your plan. Obviously if you want to go to a highly desirable restaurant, you’ll want to get an advanced Reservation (the biggest headache of travelling without a plan – but now there are apps coming out that may fix that as well..), but keeping an open-mind and exploring is way more fun than planning events that you and your fellow travellers may not actually want to do. I actually discovered the Phoenix Firebird Festival purely by accident – and this is a Big Deal to the locals!

Doc's Draft Hard Cider at Valley Forge Craft Beer & Cider Festival

Doc’s Draft Hard Cider at Valley Forge Craft Beer & Cider Festival

I hope this is a helpful resource for your next Foodcation – remember, that no matter if you’re a Foodie or not, you have to eat and drink when you travel, so it’s always a good primary or secondary focus. Online resources are swelling for food and drink – from locating restaurants and getting reservations to food allergies, so use some of your existing daily resources as well. Have fun on your next trip – Cheers!

Some Ideas for Future Foodcations (and excellent for Googling):

-Chocolate Factory Bean-to-Bar Tour

-Bread Making Workshop

-Food and Drink Festival (Bacon, Beer, Wine, Oysters, etc..)

-Winery/Brewery/Distillery Tours

-Cooking classes

-Food Tour of the Area (quick Resource is www.zerve.com )

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

Yum, Yum, EmporiYum!

November 16th, 2015 • No Comments

Yummy in Your Tummy at Emporiyum at Union Market’s, Dock 5 – one of the last events at this foodie destination!

DC's own True Tonics

DC’s own True Tonics

I attended my first Emporiyum on Saturday, November 14, 2015 in Washington, D.C. and found a boatload of new artisans and stories of small local food artisans. My first impression of this event designed to be a “Meet Eat Shop” by the organizer’s pen was one of slight fear – I don’t mind crowds, but I am fearful of children running loose and amok around Foodie adults. No worries – for whatever reason, the kiddies were pretty well-behaved – this is likely because the adults were in their own fantasy land, and the children knew better than to ruin Foodie Mommy’s chance to feast on chocokombuchanola and other treats!

More Kombucha from Hex Elements!

More Kombucha from Hex Elements!

District Donuts Creme Brulee on Fire!

District Donuts Creme Brulee on Fire!

Emporiyum http://www.tasteusa.com/event/16577/the-emporiyum

Craft Kombucha at Emporiyum

Emporiyum comprised the major food categories, those categories being chocolate, booze and pork and some other delicious fillers like candy (had some awesome caramels from Mouth Party Caramels – I think these should be a food category as well!) and of course Kombucha – I think Craft Kombucha and other makers of this fermented/pro-biotic spritzed up to reduce the actual vinegary taste product are on to something – another relatively new drink category – tonics. I of course needed a cocktail (it was after noon of course!) and the wonderful True Tonics gentleman took goo care of me! Some other noteworthy beverages:

Thunderbeast – no booze in this, but this is root beer with character!

Charm City Meadworks – I said tonic, right? Well this is honey-based and alcoholic – honey+alcohol=deliciousness – and you don’t have to mix it! Use this with a little water or lemonade spritzer after a hot yoga workout to revive you – yes!

One Eight Distilling – Max said Hi and remembered me – that and the fact they make great white whiskey and gin .. I stopped by at their facility nearby after the show, and I can barely remember the rest of the day!

Rujero Singani – Singani..the next Pisco..

Element Shrub  – yes, it’s vinegar based..but for us vinegar lovers, I’ve always wondered how lemonade vs vinegarade would taste – hey, acid is acid, lemons are not local, use local made vinegar in your ade’s first.

Kinderhook

Kinderhook

And of course, I have to talk about Route 11’s potato chips – here’s a great recent article in the Washington Post about Sarah Cohen and how her family started this Regional chiphouse. And this was a twofer..right around the corner was Jeremiah “Bullfrog” Cohen, Sarah’s brother with his food business – Bullfrog Bagels and this tagline “Great people, making great food, for great people. #CARPEBAGEL” – just plain weird, but hey the Bagels are really Great!IMG_5301

So many great foods and drinks – I was most impressed by the visual presentation of Buredo – I kept wondering why a Sushi bar was in the middle of Emporiyum and then it struck me – this is the new sushi/burrito mashup that will probably storm America just like donut bacon cheeseburgers and cronuts – Americans just love mashups – I mean, we invented peanut butter and jelly sandwiches!

My conclusion on Emporiyum? It was a fun romp among about 100 food vendors which covered more than just snacky snacks but both real food and real drink. I’d prefer the event if it were 21 and over, but the kids seemed to be in designated areas (event organizers take note – parents and kids seem to need to sit – those alarming outbursts that seem to happen at the most opportune times don’t last long – give this stressed out demographic side seating!). If you paid $15 or whatever (hey, LivingSocial had a deal, so don’t bitch if you didn’t get one!) you shouldn’t expect a free meal – another peave of mine – the “I bought a ticket and it’s a free-for-all-stuff-your-face-get-my-money’s-worth” crowd should get over it, and expect to dish out an additional $15-$25 for lunch and snacks. This is also essentially a bazaar/emporium so a great time to stock up on snacks and other gourmet foods. There were easily 1,000+ people at the event, but crowd control was good – I think the fact that the event was 4 to 5 hours long made people realize that nothing would run out – I also went on Day 1 a Saturday which is often a madhouse, but again, people seemed pretty well behaved. The demographic was solid female 20 and 30 something and my impression is they loved it – a great day out, shopping, munching, and hanging with friends. Cheers!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

Taste Ambassador, TasteUSA

Buredo

Buredo

Are You A “Food Tourist”?

October 26th, 2015 • No Comments
A Little "Ooompah" at Loco Loudoun BrewFest at Lost Rhino Brewery - Visit Loudoun's 1st foray into all-local beer festival - http://www.tasteusa.com/event/17322/loco-loudoun-brewfest

A Little “Ooompah” at Loco Loudoun BrewFest at Lost Rhino Brewery – Visit Loudoun’s 1st foray into all-local beer festivals

Fantastic travel article covering food tourism by Skift

The first question – what’s the difference between a “Food Tourist” and simply a Foodie? It’s sort of like the Champagne question: all Champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are Champagnes (Champagne is a regionally protected name in France that also restricts the type of sparkling wines produced..).

A Food Tourist (also known as a “Gastro-Tourist” – this name sounds a bit..flatulent??)  is:

-Defined by Gastrotourism.com:

“Gastro-tourists are foodies who want to go behind the scenes to taste and discuss the nuances of local region-specific foods and to learn about unique ingredients and cooking techniques from cultural experts.”

-Is more than just interested in going to fine-dining chef-driven restaurants – they want a “unique” experience around food and drink,

-Sees food, eating and drinking as more than just a necessity – it’s a form of experiential entertainment

After reading these lines, it may seem a bit high-falutin’ to be a food tourist, but it’s really just an extension of the realities of the modern world – people can afford to live and enjoy many of their fantasies, hopes and dreams – food and drink satisfy both a primal and an aspirational component of a Foodie’s life.

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Taste of Georgetown packs them in with thousands of Foodies every year!

So what does this mean for the tourism industry and the companies that promote local food and drink? The key point is to focus on the “experience” – this is today’s “sell the sizzle, not the steak”:

-Since so much of initial information on a region is based on the web, consider adding or changing your website to expose and increase excitement level of your dining/drink experiences. For example, you could put the spotlight on a local brewery having a beer dinner at a local restaurant – this is much more interesting to the food tourist than simply listing restaurants/breweries on your site.

-Much of consumer tourism is focused on the weekend “escape” – a quick 2 or 3 day trip to escape the stress of working/urban lifestyle. This is generally a higher-income person or couple and they tend to eat out at finer restaurants and spend more money, so they are looking for a story to tell everyone – sort of the new “first on your block” to do something. This demographic has generally travelled and been to Europe, so consider emphasizing local “artisans” who make cider, distilled spirits, craft beer, or wine.

-Foodie experiences can include cooking classes, chef demonstrations, local food specialties (Georgia peanuts, Maryland crabs, Carolina BBQ, etc.) so give them an opportunity to try more than one: create a “Taste of <your city/town/county/region>” which showcases a mix of local food artisans, food trucks, restaurants, wineries, craft distilleries, breweries and other local foods.

-Give tourists an opportunity to explore and spend their money supporting “local” – the locavore/farm-to-table movement is still growing and resonates with the new Food Tourist – they want to both support local, be sustainable, and have a memorable experience. Support your local farms, and agri-businesses by listing them on your website and using social media to tell their story – you won’t regret it!

<<Addition: just found out about Asheville, NC’s “Foodtopia” concept on their site – Foodtopia – great way to discover their great chefs, distilleries, breweries and more – they even post a Discover Western North Carolina Cheese Tour >>

Korus Korean Festival Tysons Corner, VA 2015 - yes, serving American Eel! http://www.tasteusa.com/event/16526/13th-annual-korus-korean-festival

Korus Korean Festival Tysons Corner, VA 2015 – yes, serving American Eel!

I hope this opens up some new ideas for tourism in your region – the challenge is to look at what you already have in the way of food and drink businesses and to better position them for success with tourists. Sometimes the best marketing program is to simply let these businesses do what they do – it may seem weird, but the internet and social media have made stars out of little local businesses that may seem under the radar, but actually have been on the Food Network or other media vehicles and have distinct followings. One example that comes to mind in my local area is Georgetown Cupcake in Washington, D.C. Even though they have virtually no marketing budget or help telling their story, they’re TLC TV Show DC Cupcakes (and Facebook Page with over 1.3 million Likes) keeps them constantly with long lines down the street in Georgetown – the only business like this in all of DC!

Cheers!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

Georgian Wine Tasting – Saperavi, Rkatsiteli & More!

October 20th, 2015 • No Comments

IMG_4622

Saperavi — Mtsvane (silent “M”) — Rkatsiteli (silent “R”) – Georgian wines came to Washington, D.C. for a fantastic Trade Tasting held at Vidalia Restaurant on Monday, October 19, 2015 and really made a show!  Presented by Georgian Wines (Facebook Event Here) the tasting was sponsored by The National Wine Agency, a division of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Georgia.

So what makes Georgian wine unique?

1)Wines are made in an ancient traditional way – the “qvevri” which according to Wikipedia: “large earthenware vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine”.

Georgian "Orange Wines"

Georgian “Orange Wines”

2)Orange or amber wines are created for white wine varietals due to skin contact while fermenting and aging. According to Wine Enthusiast: “Orange wines are white wines produced more like reds, with prolonged maceration of crushed grape skins and seeds.” Article Link Here . The taste is quite unique from this maceration and storing in clay pots – dried fruits like apricots and floral notes immediately come to mind, but of course it depends on the quality of grapes and the varietal. We tasted many Rkatsitelis (“R” is silent – so “cats-e-telee”) and Mtsvanis (“M” is silent – so “svah-nee”) and one in particular that was memorable was the Shalauri Mtsvane that was decanted – see image – “dried apricots, floral aromas and tea-like in flavor” – Very, VERY dry wines as well – not even a hint of residual sugar on my palate and medium acidity – these wines CRY for food! Mamuka Tsereteli, the infamous importer/distributor of many Georgian wines for Georgian Wine House in the Mid-Atlantic Region also told me I needed to taste his Our Wine Rkatsitelli – this “amber wine” (which seemed to be a more favorable expression at the event –  I guess my love of Orange Fanta didn’t go over well!!) had an intensity/acidity and dried fruit/tea/smoked ham (I stole this descriptor from the pamphlet..but overall, it’s a goodie!) aroma/flavor profile that really stood out at the event!

3)Over 500 “unique/indigenous” varietals with 8,000 years of winemaking history – literally, the cradle of winemaking as we know it! Here are some I tasted: Chinebuli, Tsitska, Mtsvane, Saperavi, Tsolikouri, Rkatsiteli, Ojaleshi, Otskhanuri Sapere, Kisi and Krakhuna..400+ to go..

Georgian white wines often have this cool orange/amber color!

Georgian white wines often have this cool orange/amber color!

Qvevri - the Traditional Georgian Clay Pots for Storing Wine!

Qvevri – the Traditional Georgian Clay Pots for Storing Wine!

THE LIST OF PARTICIPATING PRODUCERS INCLUDES:

Amiran Vepkhvadze
Antadze
Bagrationi
Chateau Mukhrani
Gotsa
Iago’s Wine
Jakeli
Kindzmarauli Marani
Lagvinari
Marani (Telavi Wine Cellars)
Orgo
Our Wine
Pheasant’s Tears
Sarajishvili
Schuchmann
Shaluri
Shalvino
Shavnabada Monastery
Shumi
Teliani Valley Winery
Vinoterra
WineMan

Mamuka Tsereteli - the Legend of Georgian Wines!

Mamuka Tsereteli – the Legend of Georgian Wines!

Food, Craft Beer, Korean, BBQ, Oyster and Wine Festivals to End 2015

October 17th, 2015 • No Comments

2015-09-30 18.48.10So why not start with a National Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Sake Tasting?  This image comes from the National Cherry Blossom . I attend this event almost every year and find that Sake is still a bit of a stranger to my palate – I shall explain: often the most highly rated “Daiginjho” which are the most expensive because of the process of buffing down the rice to such a small size – don’t have the most flavor. They can actually be quite subtle and even a bit mushroomy/earthy even floral notes. I guess it’s like Pinot Noir – which when they’re great are awesome, but when they’re made in a tough vintage or stored improperly, they can be quite drab! Although there’s food at this event, it’s really about the sake.
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UFO Siting at Taste of DC – Cafe Bellas!

There was a UFO siting at Taste of DC – WhAAaatttt?? No, it’s this new Pop Up Cafe Concept called Cafe Bellas. Overall, I enjoyed Taste of DC – I went on the late side, so I couldn’t partake in the wine and beer tents which had virtually no lines and a pretty decent selection, especially of craft beers.

So what was the most unusual food I saw at any event? See the image at the Korean Festival for “Wild Caught Fresh U.S. Eel”..yep, those slippery little creatures ended up in my rice bowl! Is eel really that exotic – I mean if you watch Bizarre Foods/Andrew Zimmern? No, not really, but it scares most American diners just from the name and the thought of eating it! Having had eel many times in Sushi restaurants, I was more curious by the tent’s name – it seems that at least one Korean company is attempting to make a successful business in the U.S. of supplying this animal protein..will it succeed? Hard to tell, but just like rabbit, there are probably enough chefs and diners to make it an interesting focus on a few menus. Ohh, and of course it’s Gluten-Free!
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Heritage BBQ DC – Fried Pork Rind Phone – it was a prank call!

2015-09-19 17.45.00Cochon 555 brought us Heritage BBQ which was a rockin’ experience around 5 great chefs (but I counted many more), 5 pigs and 5..well I think it’s wines, but as far as I could tell it was bourbon and mezcal..This is an Over the Top Event – it’s the Rock n Roll of Piggie Festivals, the Lamborghini of Porcine Madness, the Exclamation Point for the End of Western Civilization as we know it drowning in good things like Fidencio Mezcal, Handmade cocktails, Creekstone Farms Heritage Pigs, Pigs Heads, Bulleit, Breckenridge Booze, Buffalo Trace, Rappahannock Oysters and pretty much everything but actual Chef Porn (I always miss the After-Party to avoid the potential for Sodom and Gomorrah experiences!)..You Gotta Go Next Year!!

TasteUSA Upcoming Events for End of 2015

-Oct. 24th, 2015 – DC Scotch Walk – 8 Bars, 8 Scotches and only $35..Sweet Deal!

-November 7th, 2015 – DC Beerathon – 26 Beers at 26 Bars – yes, 12 oz. beers, and No, nobody expects you to finish all of them! Fun Tour, I’ve Done it, and you have all day to drink and mingle..

-Nov. 14th, 2015 – Brew & Bourbon Classic, Laurel Park – Special Priced Tickets – Only $20 inclusive of all the beer and bourbon you care to drink.

Cheers!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

DC Beer Festivals Kick In – 2015 Fall Issue

September 13th, 2015 • No Comments
A True Beer Connoisseur!

A True Beer Connoisseur!

DC Beer Festival season kicks in again – an amazing number of craft beer festivals – from 1-price all you can drink to the Mega Snallygaster “money is no obect” – there are festivals for the craft beer lover this Fall, 2015

As the head of TasteUSA, it’s my job to attend and cover as many food and drink festivals in the U.S. as possible – and since DC is my home base, here’s some upcoming events and maybe a recap or 2 to help you plan your Festival Season.

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ (September 19th, 2015 – Tyson’s Corner – but this festival visits many different cities during the season)- Trigger Agency’s series of over the top porkiness (?porkyness?) events that combine too much of what every hearty foodie wants: pigliciousness, Bourbon and of course craft brews! Expect more bacon too – it seems this is the current foodie draw to over-the-top events. Medium on the Beer Geek/Bourbon Geek scale, Trigger really specializes in a more laid-back vibe for the city slickers who want to just throw on some jeans and kick back a bit!

Arlington Backyard Beer Festival (September 19th, 2015 – Arlington Gateway, Rosslyn, VA) – although a first year event, the Organizers have put together multiple other local beer festivals including Drink the World Beer Festival and All-American Beer Festival . Expect a nice selection of craft beers and really great food trucks for food – the price is also right – you can save 30% off the ticket price at our site with promo code “tasteusa” and the VIP Tickets are only $45 before discount!

Das Best Oktoberfest (September 26th, 2015 – National Harbor, MD) – Hey, again you can get discounted tickets – only $29 for VIP all-you-can-drink – another Trigger Agency event that is very popular. You can do the German Oktoberfest thing, or simply enjoy lot’s of great beer – and since our discounted price is $29/per person (VIP) – you get a very affordable event to enjoy craft beers at!

All-American Beer Festival

All-American Beer Festival

Past Events (hey, they’ll be back next year!)

Snallygaster 2015 – Holy Smokes, this is one Great and expensive craft beer festival – Very High on the Beer Geek scale, maybe an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10! 300+ beers this year and many rare, cask, unique examples of hops, grain and yeast combined in an amazing array of choices. I actually tried a beer that

Annapolis Craft Beer & Music Festival – September 12th, 2015 – Outside the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, this event is always fun and has a nice selection of local beers including Jail Break, Oliver Breweries, and Heavy Seas.

Have fun at upcoming craft beer festivals – I’ll include an article soon on new food and drink events at TasteUSA – Cheer!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

So You Want to Organize a Craft Beer Festival?

June 7th, 2015 • No Comments

We Feature literally hundreds of Beer Festivals at TasteUSA – So when a recent Report came out from Eventbrite about Millenials choices when it comes to Food and Beverage Festivals (Report here – it may be restricted..) it was no surprise that Millenials and frankly all ages over 21 prefer craft beer festivals to all other food and beverage events!

2015-05-16 14.02.22Since TasteUSA is the #1 Food and Drink Festival Website in the US, we have a special insight into what makes for a successful or not so successful event. Below are some observations/anecdotes on how you the craft beer festival organizer can improve the ticket sales and audience of your event.

2015-06-06 14.09.171)Always Go Local – today Foodies and craft beer lovers want to know what’s going on in their neighborhood when it comes to eating and drinking. You’ve probably heard it before – “locavore” but it means much more. Today’s craft beer audience is younger – Millennial if you prefer – and they want a story behind their craft beer experience. The best way to tell a story is to let the newest local breweries taste at your Festival. The good news is that craft breweries are popping up so quickly, this shouldn’t be a problem!

2015-04-25 15.59.072)Great Food Is a Necessity – Gone are the days when you could hold a craft beer festival and just have pretzels, jerky and fried foods to fill the stomachs of attendees. Today’s craft beer aficionados are generally “Foodies” and they want a culinary experience to boot! I’m often asked to define “Foodie” – The Eventbrite survey simply asked if Festival attendees were serious about food – and 50% said “yes” – that pretty much makes you a Foodie!

The key to delivering a positive food experience at a Festival is to have a variety of cuisines – and the easiest way to do this is to use local food trucks if available. I’ve been to events with as many as 60 food trucks, but you may only need a few – it really depends on the number of people who are attending and if you have other food vendors.

I recently helped an Organizer by suggesting that rather than use the venue’s food service, that they should consider using a local food incubator called Mess Hall. Since Mess Hall already curates local food producers, this was a win-win – a great variety of food items and local food producers! You may not have a food incubator in your Region, but there are literally thousands of food vendors – it can’t hurt to check out a few brew festivals in your region and see who’s selling food – do your homework!

Bacon!

Bacon!

3)Add a Second Theme – Simple – just add Bacon! Seriously, Bacon Festivals are Hot right now in the US – we should know, TasteUSA Features More Bacon Festivals than any other website! Here are some other themes – each is linked to an actual event we Featured:

-BBQ – Beer, Bourbon & BBQ – well that’s actually 3 themes!

-Food Trucks – West End Food Truck Rodeo – built in draw – food trucks represent American inventiveness, freedom and ingenuity – they also are catering kitchens on wheels!

-Seafood – multiple potential themes: Crab, Oyster, Lobster, Crawfish or regional themes like Chesapeake, Alaskan, etc. – Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival

-Cider – DC Craft Beer & Cider Festival – did you know that Cider is the fastest growing alcoholic beverage category? It’s also generally gluten-free – while few craft beers are free of gluten – so you’ve opened up a new marketing channel!

-Taste of <your town/city here> – Great Tastes of Tysons – why not – everybody loves to check out local restaurants and of course local beers!

2015-05-16 14.05.054)Add Buzz with Social Media – Ugghhh..Social Media – it’s too much work .. or is it? Keep it simple – setup a Facebook “Fan Page” (you’re on Facebook – right?), and put a link to it on your website (you have a website right? If not, email us Email TasteUSA we can help!). Twitter too – create a name on twitter that is simple and try to include “beerfestival” somewhere in the name. Instagram? Maybe.. Pinterest? The answer is we’re all evolving with Social Media – there are no easy answers. I’m only talking free marketing here – if you decide to advertise, market your event Give Us a Buzz or hire a marketing consultant. That may be overkill – maybe all your craft beer festival is a quick start?!

Cheers!

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler – TasteUSA 

Bacon Festivals Are Back and TasteUSA Got ’em!

May 17th, 2015 • No Comments

America Loves Bacon..and So Does Washington, D.C.!

albhotdogsIt’s Bacon Festival Season again, and Washington, D.C. seems to be the Extreme Bacon Capitol! Coming up are 2 Bacon Festivals the same weekend in DC – First the amazing and popular Capitol Bacon Fest brought to you by America Loves Bacon. Believe it or not, TasteUSA now Feature more Bacon Festivals than any other website!

Capitol Bacon Festival, May 30, 2015, The Fairgrounds, Washington, D.C. (near the Yards Park)- 2nd Time in Washington, D.C. – Last year’s Bacon Eating Championship was a Feast for the Senses (not bad on the eyes either) and will again pit some of DC’s Best Bacon Eaters in a competitive format. I really enjoyed this event last year – Charm City Caterers, Food Trucks and some local food purveyors made the event a Smorgasbord of Bacon Goodness!

Jalapeno Bacon!

Jalapeno Bacon!

 

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918 F Streets Bacon Tasting – Alas, LivingSocial Closed this Facility!

I attended last year’s DC Bacon and Beer Festival in DC and it’s Back this year on Sunday, May 31st, 2015 – the day after Capitol Bacon Festival!! This was held at Penn Social and was quite good – there were quite a few chefs/restaurants and it Sold Out in literally a matter of minutes.

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ is June 19 and 20th, 2015 – We promote so many of these Festivals that we almost forget – this event includes a Huge Bacon Tasting! There are over 10+ Bacon tasting stations and of course this event comes with a great selection of Bourbons and Beers. The Trigger people produce this event all over the U.S. so they have special relationships with Pork Vendors – it’s Porky and Foodie!

Beer & Bacon Festival comes to Woodbridge, VA for the 2nd year on Saturday, August 29, 2015 and is presented by Trigger Agency again. There’s a Special Price for VIP Tickets on our site – and you get VIP Beer and Bacon Admission will host over 10 restaurant tasting stations featuring the BEST restaurants in the DC Metro area. They will be on-hand vying for the $500 Best Bacon Dish Prize. (VIP Beer & Bacon Session food tastings included, regular beer tasting session food is ala carte.)
• 2 tons of gourmet bacons will be griddled on-site (until 3pm). Save a Few Dollars on Beer & Bacon Festival Here

 

BAconey Deviled Eggs!

BAconey Deviled Eggs!
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Past: I attended Beer, Bacon & Music at the Frederick Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 16th, 2015 – this was my first time visiting this event and location – the 2 Tons of Bacon made it really fun (you could literally eat your hearts content of bacon – the Jalapeno was awesome!!) and beers were a penny once you paid the very reasonable cover charge. I was impressed as much with the quality of the craft breweries represented as I was with the Bacon choices. I met a farm/brewery owner – Henry Ruhlman of Ruhlman Brewery  in Hempstead, Maryland who told me the story of how he began growing Maryland Hops and went through all the regulatory hurdles to produce Farmhouse beers. Today, opening a brewery on a farm is much less of a struggle, but he said he would do it again!

Beer, Bacon, Booze..Festivals That Is!

May 8th, 2015 • No Comments

We’ve hit the big Foodie Festival Season in Washington, D.C. now that it’s the first week in May..more Bacon Festivals, more Beer Festivals, more Booze Festivals..ohh, and a few wine festivals, food crawls, Big Charity high-ticket dinners..ohhand of course DC Lamb Jam .. here it goes, a fun rollick through the Washington, D.C. Foodie Festival Season..

dccraftbeernewlogocider600x600_Logo (1)Saturday, May 9th, 2015 – DC Craft Beer and Cider Festival – Hey, they added Ciders and more Speciality craft beers impossibly hard to find.. Did I mention that Mess Hall (the Food Incubator) is Catering the event?

 

VinoFest, May 9th, 2015 – More Music than Foodie, but with over 20 wines included and some awesome food, I can see getting my boogie on and sipping away at this one

BBM15-FB-cover-share Beer, Bacon & Music Festival , May 16th, 2015, Frederick Fairgrounds – C’mon you got all the good stuff – plenty of craft beers,  bacon both in 2 Tons to eat right away, and a bevy of food trucks and Bacon purveyors..and frankly a bit away from the city..

DC_-LMAB-JAM-POSTER--750-pxDC Lamb Jam , May 17th, 2015 – This is a Serious Chefstravaganza – 17 chefs, tons of food, wine, craft beer and Foodie Heaven – Chefs competing to win your tastebuds over .. and only $60.. c’mon, I’ve spent more than that at a Food Truck Festivals (well, I promote them!)

 

StMike2015St. Michael’s BrewFest, May 30th, 2015 – hey sometimes you gotta get away and visit the Eastern Shore..I mean this could be a whole weekend, especially if you visit Lyon Distillery and other distilleries and breweries around the corner..I mean, that’s travelling for food and drink!

DCIST List Here – Hey, check out this short list from DCist..there are actually more Bacon Festivals coming, more beer, wine, cocktail festivals..and well..this just forces me to drink on the Job – Cheers!

Eater DC Added some events like Edible DC’s Cocktail Derby ..

And of course Fritz Hahn’s Going Out Guide Washington Post Article for 2015 Beer Festivals

Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler

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