Against the backdrop of the Cape Town Festival of Beer this weekend, a small drama was playing itself out in the microbrewing community of Cape Town. Rouvanne, from the Beer Garden, was one of the few to write on Twitter that the We Love Real Beer organisation is no longer, due to infighting and certain proponents of the organisation choosing to focus on their own brands.
Although I wouldn’t like to be involved in the drama – and definitely do not want to take sides – I’ll quote what Rouvanne had to say about it on his blog at the Beer Garden, as I think it’s a) rather enlightening, b) rather important for people to know what happened and c) rather interesting to see what the future is for the ever-popular We Love Real Beer Festivals.
Yesterday saw a volley of emails being sent between a number of people involved in the microbrewery industry in the Cape. Questions were being asked of We Love Real Beer, and in the end we were informed that the organisation as we know it will cease to exist from November 2011.
We Love Real Beer was set up by Brad Armitage and Shaun Bond and run together with Jack Black and & Union as an umbrella organisation which would bring microbreweries and craft beer together and use tactical marketing and festivals as a means of increasing exposure in the market. It worked very well and it was great to be a part of 2 of the 3 festivals held under this banner.
But We Love Real Beer is not an association – it didn’t represent brewers or their interests and this is where some of the confusion and unhappiness felt by breweries probably came from.
We Love Real Beer offered membership to those in the beer business, and this entitled them to free entry to 2 festivals per year, lots of marketing under the We Love Real Beer banner. But some felt that it included certain beer brands more than others in offering opportunities to appear at events and this is where unhappiness arose.
Brad informed us yesterday that & Union would be focusing on their own brand going forward, but that there would still be We Love Real Beer festivals in the future. As a brand and not as an umbrella organisation.
So although the public will still be able to enjoy an awesome festival at which all the smaller breweries can be enjoyed, We Love Real Beer will no longer offer memberships and the perks that came with this.
I know that there is a We Love Real Beer stand at the Food Wine and Design Show in Johannesburg this weekend, and that & Union and Darling Brewery are represented there, but yesterday we were told that all memberships ended in September, so is it really a We Love Real Beer event?