Philadelphia Weekly Exploits Philly Beer Week; Chris DePeppe Approves

So, we happen to live in a city that has a badass beer culture, superb local craft breweries, and now Philly Beer Week, one of the premier brew events in the country. (Even The Old Grey Lady has taken notice.) We’re so proud of Beer Week: Its success has truly put us on the map as a destination for aficionados and brewers. You can get all the love right here, and we will be making picks for our favorite events in short order.

But we also couldn’t help but notice that one of the corporate sponsors is none other than Philly Weekly. Odd, considering one of our favorite columns, Beer Lass, has been noticeably absent from their rotation recently. We rang up the Beer Lass herself, Suzie Woods, and she confirmed that her column was indeed cut by the PW, but that’s all she would comment on. (Woods continues on with her personal Beer Lass blog, however.)

Meanwhile, ad folks at PW are assuring Beer Week participants and advertisers that their money is being well spent and Beer Lass is covering their needs. Word from the inside, however, is that the article covering Beer Week will only feature bars approved by the PW ad staff. Content, apparently, is not so much with the king stuff at PW these days.

From the bottom of our hearts, we say ‘UP YOURS’ to the PW for absurdly shady business practices and exploiting the one event that the entire food and drink community gets behind. And if that isn’t enough, tossing out the solid work of a fellow alcohol writer and promptly selling on her hard-earned reputation as one of the most important beer folks in town. For shame, guys.

Speaking of exploitation, local guy and mastermind behind Philly Craft Beer Festival, Chris DePeppe is doing his very best to cash in on our local breweries’ high quality product. DePeppe is offering a $200 stipend to each brewery and requesting 4 kegs (which goes for $450-500) and brewers to volunteer their entire day, during 2 four-hour sessions. For all us non-math majors, that means that, well, being in the PCBF is expensive enough to keep many small craft brewers out of it.

In response, many of your local favorites have immediately pulled out, and you’ll be left with wannabe-crafty-type goliaths, like Sam Adams and other thinly-veiled tripe. Expect this trend to continue leading up to the event itself. We suggest you dig into the events calendar of Beer Week and forego the Craft Beer Festival, which is just hanging on for the ride and coin.

  • e

    I was wondering what happened to Suzie’s column. Poor move on the part of PW. They never used any of the restaurant listings I spent months writing for them either :(

  • http://none-ya j

    Looks like they gave the Daily News the boot for sponsorship, nice work.

  • TC

    I could be mistaken, but my understanding is that many (perhaps most) beer festivals don’t pay brewers a dime for the their time and beer, expecting that the “exposure” is more than adequate compensation. If this is true, $200, at least, is a step in the right direction.

  • A Feculent Rainbow

    Sounds like bullshit to me. I also was under the impression that folks don’t make money directly from brewfests. I heard of this stuff called marketing/promotion that, like, pays for itself in the form of future patronage due to awareness of the brand. TC is likely right.

    It is also likely that the locals have hit a point of diminishing returns as the brewfest regulars have sampled the feck out of Yards, PBC, Stoudts, Victory, Flying Fish and the lot. The list is looking pretty eclectic as of now; and only had a couple heavy-hitter-wannabes:

  • Scoats

    Regarding the breweries, they are entire reason for such events. Yet historically they are the only ones not getting paid. The band for example is not playing free for the benefit of exposure. The breweries from what I understand are only asking to be almost fairly paid. In a pie chart of costs, it would be a rather small slice.

  • http://none Mebeer

    Listen even Sam Adams is not participating. The days of free beer to an event that is not 100% charitable are gone. Pay us as you would the band , venue, or food purveyor. At this point in time exposure is NOT our main motivator

  • Christian O’hara

    I am a regular at one of the bars participating in the events for beer week. I can tell you that from the perspective of these local watering holes this is a great event. It gives them exposure and brings in buisness for the small buisness owners. At a time in the economy when it is needed. I did ask the manager that I know about the lack of local brewers involved at his place even for tastings. He explained to me that one of his owner is friend with the owner of Yards and they are not even doing a tasting with them. So the lingering question is WHY? Evidently the past quality control with yards, or the poor service from PBC and Flying Fish are the simple reasons. Now these local brewers you would think would want to be all-stars to these local pubs. The reality is that a focus on the dollar, not quality or service is a bigger issue with these brewers. Not to say that they dont have some good products but there are a lot of great beers for varied tastes out there for us to enjoy. So from what I can tell the brewers that are willing to work with the local pubs are the ones that we will see at beer week. Just figured I would chime in here…Cheers

  • CEF

    @ Christian:

    Your informaion is far from correct. First you are confusing The Craft Beer Festival with Beer Week itself. Yards is definitely participating, as they are hosting 31 events themselves, including the Real Ale Invitational which will have kegs of some the most rare beer from around the universe all in one place. We know this not because a friend of a friend is someone who knows someone at Yards, but because we directly asked the crew themselves.

    By your assumption you are stating that Yards, PBC, Troegs, Sly Fox, Victory, and Dock Street are all crap? Considering the national acclaim and recognition beers from these brew houses has garnered, I would say that doesn’t make much sense.

  • Pro Brewer

    The $200 stipend may be a step in the right direction, but it wasn’t offered because the organizers wanted to make good or correct a wrong. It was done because the organizer realized his free ride was over and he’s trying desperately to save it.

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