This term I reckon between my three girls I’ve been called upon to RSVP to about thirty birthday party invitations. I’d almost forgotten what is was like to receive one of my own.
That was before James Smith sent a letter inviting me to his first birthday party. To clarify, James Smith is the creator and pilot of one of the beer scene’s most comprehensive and easy to use websites, The Crafty Pint and not some child prodigy capable of legible handwriting but not yet eating solid food.
The Festival of the Frothy was a way of commemorating the fact that the website had got off the ground and made it to its first significant milestone as well as bringing together many of the good beer people responsible for supporting and visiting the site. For James it was important to recognise that, while The Crafty Pint is a commercial venture, it is so much more. It is people and beer and putting the two groups in touch with each other.
It is as much about introducing the drinker to the brewers as it is about announcing new seasonals or advising of event details and alerting to media releases. It is a way for new entrants into the good beer world to enter and feel welcome – a place where they can stop and browse without the pressure of knowledge or the feeling that they have to leave a review or cast a considered opinion. It’s all about the beer – but at your pace.
Two hundred and twenty guests packed The Atrium at Federation Square in Melbourne to enjoy the inimitable stylings of The Funky Bunch trivia crew, some very nice craft beer (of course) and the company of some of the industry’s leading figures as well as the ubiquitous ‘average punter’ as The Crafty Pint worked the large room shaking hands and clinking glasses.
A surprise highlight of the evening was a special video presentation skilfully crafted by Alistair Robbie from The Post Project featuring short messages of congratulations (and good-natured derision!) from those who were unable to attend and those who just wanted to make sure Crafty knew how important were his contributions to the business of promoting better beer. Perhaps more of a surprise was that for the two months of preparation needed to put the video together was able to be kept hidden from James.
Some present suggested that this celebration was ‘just like a beer awards night where everybody wins!’ and there is probably no better way to sum it up. The obvious love in the room was contagious and brewers, beer writers, retailers and distributors as well as a thousand gig worth of Twitterers and regular folk mingled and met and cheered and sang and – in more than a few cases, stayed for ‘just one more!’
The ‘Good Beer Scene’ in this country is still in its infancy when compared to the pulling power of the mainstream brands. This situation means that unity and a genuine commitment to cooperation is necessary if we are to make any real difference. James Smith through The Crafty Pint is the most generous and approachable bloke when it comes to sharing resources, cross-promoting or working with other outlets (like this one) to ensure the end goal is met.
Happy Birthday, The Crafty Pint and well done James. Australian Brews News looks forward to sharing the journey ahead with you and yours.