I know those beers will be available as they went out last week.
I attended this event yesterday (Thursday) and I have to say, having attended many real ale events, I was very disappointed.
Tiny ’samples’ and only 3 working taps does not a beer festival make.
Here is my review:
When we arrived, confusion reigned. They had sold three different types of ticket. Some people got envelopes with varying amount of tickets inside, other got no tickets. It took an age to sort out.
The deal my friend had bought included a free burrito. It turned out, much the surprise of pretty much everyone with that deal, that this was in fact a voucher for a burrito, which could be cashed in at the other end of London (expiry day 30th June, 10 days).
We were handed a welcome drink, which was roughly a quarter of a pint and told to sit down and wait for the presentation.
Thirty minutes later, clutching our long empty glasses, our stomachs wondering if our throats had been cut, the presentation finally started.
Justina Cruickshank (aka CraftBeerJusty) reeled off a couple of wiki-pages worth of information about beer. This mostly covered the Scottish “Shilling Categories”, the four main ingredients of beer and the origins of the lager yeast strains. She didn’t talk about the beers we were about to try, but there was a sheet with a little info on them.
We then bought some tokens (as my friend’s deal didn’t include any). We bought 5 (£1 each) to start.
When we went to cash in the tokens we were told that one token got us half a glass. Remember these glasses were already tiny, only a quarter of a pint at best (no markings or measures, is that even legal?), so that is an eighth of a pint for £1, or to put it another way, £8 a pint!!!
There were only 3 taps working. There were some beers available from bottles. Apparently they would be rotating the taps onto other barrels later. We tried all the beers on tap, finishing our 5 tokens and left to find a real ale pub.
bigbellbilly - Thank you for your feedback. If you could email us directly (info[at]thecraftbeersocialclub.co.uk) we can over your issues with the event in more detail, but to summarise:
- The event was not billed as a real ale event. We don’t bill any of our events as such.
- The burrito voucher is available at six London stores and no purchase is necessary - quite an exclusive offer.
- We will be discussing, with the promotion agent you purchased your ticket from, the wording they chose to include as this did lead to confusion. However, our website, which we asked them to copy, was very clear on what the promotion was. The link for this is here:
- Lots of people arrived late unfortunately or didn’t bring any tickets with them or didn’t know what name the ticket was booked under and this lead to some delays at the beginning even though we opened the doors on time at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.
- The talk was pitched at the level of knowledge for the audience. All week I have had people come up to me to say they didn’t even know what the main ingredients of beer were. For someone that has a lot of beer knowledge, the talk won’t necessarily have provided new information, but the vast majority of people attending do not have such knowledge.
- The samples are small because the event is a tasting festival (think more in terms of the US style events) you can try lots of different beer without a huge commitment. This has been a success with guests attending as it allows them to experiment without thinking they are wasting money e.g buying a pint of beer they are not sure about (for some even half a pint is too much commitment). Equivalent pint would be just over £4. Great value when you consider every single beer had the same price. So for example, the Earl Grey IPA - retails at over £5 in averagely priced pubs worked out as much less. were available to try a good few mouthfuls of for the fraction of the price.
- We had eight beers on keg (four taps - there was an issue with one tap but that was remedied a short time later) and they did rotate so had you stayed you could have tried all of them.
In the end. we are not running a traditional beer festival. We are doing something different that appeals, maybe, to a different style of audience than to what you would go for, but it absolutely works. We have had lots of great feedback from attendees over the last few days.
This business is just a small business aimed to help people, who don’t know about much about beer, to access the great beers we have from the UK. We provide jobs, and we spend a lot of money on beer from small craft breweries (so we help the British beer industry too). But we know we are still learning and growing. We’re young - just almost a year and a half old as a business, but we are already aware we are never going to please everyone. No one can. But in saying that I always appreciate all the feedback we get.
I’m sorry the event was not to your liking, but I would be interested to hear your thoughts on how you think the event should have been. Please do email and we will look into your suggestions.
I think you need to write down a disclaimer for third party companies as this is clearly getting difficult to manage. Earl Gray at an average is £3 a half if keg and it’s a special Marble beer and only available in limited batches. I also have some friends whom have used ’Group On’ to buy tickets for one of your events and have not been refunded. I think there is a big problem. Happy to talk offlist but BOTH have e-mailed and not received responses.
Hi tdtm82 - Thanks for the comments. We haven’t had any requests for refunds directly to us since Monday (and those emails were replied to) so perhaps they contacted the promotion company. That’s who they should contact, in any case, to request one.
I spoke to the promotion company at length this week about the wording (which I did not approve) and they agreed (eventually) that it caused a massive problem. I insisted that they needed to email everyone that purchased a voucher accepting responsibility and to apologise for this - this email was sent out on Wednesday. The email begins: "We’d like to apologise if the wording of this deal (which was not the responsibility of The Craft Beer Social Club) led to any disappointment regarding what was included in the offer". It then goes on to clarify what the offer was and that if there were any questions etc that the voucher holder should contact their customer service team.
I can send you a copy of this letter if you let me know your email address and you can forward onto to your friends.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to quantify the damage that wording has caused us, but I am pleased that the company has accepted they were at fault and has apologised to voucher holders.
The knock on affects are still being felt though, and it’s not fair that this happened when my staff and I worked so hard. But we have learnt a lot and next time we run an event, of that scale, things will be handled differently including which companies we partner with for promotions.
If you have any other queries regarding this, please email us at