Brewers Association Launches ‘Beer Geeks’ Program for GABF

Hoping to provide knowledgeable support for the volunteers that keep the beer flowing at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the Brewers Association (BA) has announced the return of its ‘Beer Geeks’ program.

Consisting of 100 homebrew club members and other so-called ‘beer geeks,’ the program, which was introduced last year, aims to provide volunteers with access to “core brewery and brand information” about the beers they’re pouring so as to better serve and educate festivalgoers.

Beer Geeks stems from the demands of both brewers and volunteers alike that have clamored for additional support, say show administrators.

“Every year the most consistent theme in the feedback we hear from volunteer pourers is they want more information to be able to share with festivalgoers,” said Carol Hiller, GABF volunteer coordination leader, in a news release. “Our refocused Beer Geeks program will help tremendously with this knowledge transfer.”

The “geeks,” the BA told Brewbound, will help brewers in providing additional insight for attendees that volunteers may not have off hand.

Jeremy Cowan, owner and founder of Shmaltz Brewing, believes the more resources brewers have to educate consumers, the better the attendee experience will be.

“In any festival environment where people are piled in to have a great time, it can be a great challenge,” Cowan told Brewbound. “If you walk up to a booth and its volunteers don’t know anything about the product or the company, your experience with that beer is going to be more limited.”

The BA will deploy 2-3 beer geeks for each section of the festival, so as to have one for every 10-15 breweries at the event, according to Nancy Johnson, the BA’s event director. The geeks will provide volunteers with basic training and guidance to reinforce proper pouring techniques and also offer insight about the breweries and beers to festival attendees. Additionally, there will be laminated information sheets at each table describing the beers, courtesy of the geeks, another resource for both the festivalgoers and volunteer pourers.

“The volunteer pourers are there to assist the breweries, and the geeks are there to fill in beer information gaps as needed and as they are able,” Johnson told Brewbound.

The program’s implementation also coincides with considerable growth for the festival, as the number of participating breweries this year is expected to increase 14 percent over the year prior.

The festival, which takes place in Denver, Colo., is scheduled to begin on October 2.