Ethics at an Ale Festival
Disclaimer: These are solely my opinions that have been formed from tons of experience and are absolutely correct in every way, but do not reflect on those opinions of Portlandbeer.org. But if you do have a problem with what I say.. blame Matt.
In 2011, I attended numerous beer festivals ranging from the Spring Beer and Wine Festival at the Convention Center to BIKETOBEERFEST and the Holiday Ale Festival, just to name a few. Every festival is different in many aspects, be it the beer style, the size of the festival, whether it's put on by one brewery or includes 150. But at nearly every festival there was one constant that I did encounter. It was discourteous and drunken rude people ruining a perfectly good time for everyone else.
Everyone who loves craft beer is not only here for the beer. We're also here for the camaraderie and the friendly community that craft beer brings together. Obviously beer makes you drunk if you drink too much, craft beer can do the trick with even less. This is no reason to turn into a certain feminine hygiene product and make everyone around you uncomfortable. If you know that alcohol makes you combative or angry, you should not drink in public because you could harm others. If you know it makes you annoying and insufferable then you should not drink in public because others may harm you. What I'm trying to say here is if you are going to the festivals for the alcohol and to get drunk and not for the brews and tasting their complexity, hanging out with friends and having a not-so-drunk good time, then you are going for the wrong reasons. It is inevitable that if you attend a beer festival now and then that one time you will overdo it and end up taking a taxi home (I hope). That's all ok, just don't do it on purpose.
Most of the examples of discourtesy I've noticed were at the larger festivals when crowds were at their peak. At the Oregon Brewers Festival people were cutting in line so bad we stood in line for a half hour and didn't move. Same thing happened at HAF on Saturday night. When I almost got to the front we found an entire line had formed that was cutting into the actual line from people either not paying attention and due to that the actual line took forty minutes to get through. Then while standing at the front of the line a girl and her boyfriend walked up and just started moving up with the line. When I informed them of where the back of the line was, the girl said some rather unkind things to me and stormed off. At BIKETOBEERFEST, two guys who didn't get to participate in the bike hucking contest began flipping off employees of HUB. At the Fruit Beer Festival, people were cussing at volunteers because some beers had run out.
I have a solution that could have made all of these incidents avoidable. Be understanding. Be polite. Be PATIENT. Everyone has to wait in a line for their beer, just because your friends are at the front doesn't mean you have the right to jump ahead of everyone else who has been patiently waiting for their turn. When you're walking through the crowd, try not to shove people out of the way. If you can't find a path, make one by asking someone to move aside. If a beer runs out then just realize that you should have gotten there sooner and don't take it out on the staff. Try to moderate your drinking. No one likes a belligerently drunk person, especially in a very crowded area. No one likes being puked on either (Editor's Note: Sorry, Ian). Everyone in a beer festival is going to be buzzed but remember that the festival is about tasting, not drinking. Most of all, if you do get drunk... do not drive home. Call a cab or take Tri-Met. Please. There is no craft beer in jail or the morgue so just don't do it.
Now this all may sound like I'm just whining and preaching (which I am) but I hope that by ranting about it that maybe... just maybe we can get along a little better when a celebration of craft beer rolls around and we all crowd into a small space to consume something that will inevitably lower cognitive function and judgements capabilities. Remember that everyone else is there to have a good time too.
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