Monday, June 07, 2010

Mondial de la Biere

This weekend was Mondial...actually it started Wednesday and goes to Sunday. As always, an awesome collection of Quebec breweries and a showcase of some of the best beer available on this planet.

This year, we decided to get a booth and represent in Montreal. It was a difficult decision, because the interprovincial regulations make it really expensive (we had to buy our own beer from the SAQ at a 270% markup before selling it back) and difficult to do right (we had to send the beer months in advance and we couldn't send kegs). In the end the festival seemed to cool to miss and we're so close to Montreal, it just seemed wrong to skip it.

Overall, it was a very good event for us. We had lots of awesome feedback from customers and breweries and got to meet a lot of the brewers and owners of some of our favourite Quebec beers. The interprovincial redtape however was very frustrating...

Only half of our order was brought to the event from the SAQ to start with. By 7pm the first night, the Bogwater was gone and by halfway through Thursday all our beer was gone. Our brewery is only 45 minutes away, but we weren't allowed to bring more and were told that the second half of our shipment wouldn't arrive until Friday. So we spent most of Thursday apologizing to folks who came to try our beer. On Friday the next shipment came, but somehow LugTread got missed and didn't arrive. After a few hours it came, thankfully (I think this was due to some awesome work by Mondial organizers, who were all very cool, but I didn't get to see what happened behind the scenes).

So, yeah, by Friday night we had sold out of everything except our Stout, and that was gone early Saturday.

Enough about me complaining though...on a personal level, I had a blast. First of all, when I say "we" apologized all day, I don't really deserve any sympathy. It is such a good feeling for me to be at a show and have supercompetent people working their butts off. Darren worked the entire show and somehow kept up with it all. Nikki and Anne both took a couple days and my friend Codco took a few days vacation from his real job and worked our booth pretty much the whole time, too.

This let me, Dad and Matt meet, greet and taste a lot more freely than we're used to.

I had found out earlier that Alex from New Belgium would be up - we've been emailing about Bogmyrtle for a while now and so I was going to get to meet her. We spent a lot of time sampling and talking and she was really cool. She also introduced me to Erik, founder of Left Hand Brewing. I'm a big fan of their Milk Stout, so it was really neat to get to hang out with him, too. I also got to hang out with some folks from Benelux and Hopfenstark, some of the Ontario folks who were up for the experience, like Ralph and Julien from Volo, Bill White, Troy Burtch, and Mirella Amato.

An amazing experience. I guess there are worse things than selling every drop of beer we brought, too!

I can't wait to hear from Rob and Jerry in Toronto about how their beer festival went and from Jen and Kevin in Orangeville, to find out about the street festival we were doing there this weekend, too!


Sean said...

I am simultaneously embarassed and sorry for the way you were treated by my government.

The SAQ needs to go away.

I stopped going to Mondial a couple years ago because I can't take the crowds and regulatory stupidity.

I am, however, glad you guys had a good time. (-: I haven't tried your stout yet, but I'm sure it's great.


Steve Beauchesne said...

thanks for the comment...I would be more upset if it weren't equally difficult for my Quebec brewing friends to get into Ontario. The way I see it, both provinces should remove their redtape and then customers in both provinces will reap the benefits of more choice.

Sean said...

Do you think it's coincidental that Quebec and Ontario host Molson and Labatt, and they're notoriously hostile to small brewers? (-:


owen/d said...

Reminds me of the early rules of for the America's Cup which ensured that the Americans won it for 132 years.
The challenger had to sail the boat it was racing all the way from the home country to the US and they had to use that very boat in all the races.
The Yankee's could wait till the day of a race and then choose a boat optimized for the prevailing weather.
Australia finally beat them in the early 80's.