With the whirlwind that followed over the past month, I’ve just now had a chance to get in touch with festival organizer and TapWerks general manager Greg Powell for a recap on the event, which by all accounts was a smashing success.
Powell said they ended up with 243 different beers available, and 1,050 gallons of beer consumed.
I asked Greg to share some additional thoughts:
“This year’s OCBF was definitely the best to date. We set an all-time attendance record at 1,626 tickets sold. With all the brewery reps, volunteers and media, we had a total of close to 1,900 people at the festival that day.
“Thanks to Black Steel Energy Drinks and Cami Stenson of the ACM @ UCO, our live music and stage was the best yet.
“The good folks at the city of OKC, ABLE Commission, and OKCPD were all very helpful in getting the event licensed and legal. That process was the easier than it has been in any year.
“I have not gotten any negative feedback from anyone regarding the event. All the food vendors, brewers, brewery reps, brokers and distributors were very pleased with the turnout and feedback from guests.
“I heard from many pouring beer that the crowd seemed to be a very ‘beer-centric’ crowd. They asked good questions and seemed genuinely interested and excited about the beers. That is very rewarding for all of us involved. The last thing we want for this event is a bunch of drunken idiots just out to get belligerent.
“As far as feedback from the attendees, it’s a ‘no-news-is-good-news’ scenario. I did not receive a single email or call from a guest that had a bad experience. So from my experience, that means everyone had a great time!
“We have already begun planning for next year’s event. Our goal is to improve the Oklahoma Craft Beer Festival every year. That includes everything from the beer selection, to the music, to the overall guest experience. We hope to turn this event into something that all Oklahomans can be proud of.”
From my perspective, I thought this year’s event was far-and-away and the best of the three years. For one, the beer selection was outstanding. The state’s brewers and distributors really brought their A-games, including some great one-offs and limited-release beers.
More importantly, though, I feel like the turnout and atmosphere was spectacular. You could really feel the energy in the crowd — and the enthusiasm for the beer was great. I talked to people, or overheard people talking, about the quality and characteristics of several beers. Like Powell said, it was about appreciating the beer, not just drinking as much as you could.
I know I’m pumped to see what Powell and our state’s brewers bring to the table next year.
-In more TapWerks news, Powell wanted me to highlight a couple upcoming events. The first will be next Thursday, June 27, with a special Sour Beer Night. “We will have Petrus Red, Aged Pale, and Oud Bruin on tap,” Powell said. “As well as Rodenbach Grand Cru, Duchesse de Bourgogne, and Prairie Gold. We will also have several bottle selections from Jolly Pumpkin and others. There will be a large selection of glassware to choose from that night as well. It will be a great opportunity to come try sour beers and take home a really unique glass.”
And one of the most fun TapWerks beer events of the summer is coming up fast: the annual IPA Day celebration. This year’s event is set for Thursday, Aug. 1. “I have already spoken to several breweries and we will have upwards of 10 firkins/pins that night in addition to a special food menu, and glassware for Pint Night,” Powell said. “More details to come!”