The big Beer Fest is back: October 30th to November 2nd brings to the Wharf 1846 Bund Promenade the 4th edition of the Shanghai International Beer Festival, presented by Stella Artois. We caught up with the director of Shanghai International Beer Festival organizers Bevex, The Minh Nguyen, about how it all came together.
Please tell us a few words about how the Shanghai International Beer Festival and Bevex were created ?
I have always been fascinated by all of the actors working behind the beer scene. More than the product, I have great respect for all the brewers who craft such great beers. The objectives of the beer festival are to educate the local consumers on the great variety of beers that are available in China and to shine the spotlight on all these hardworking brewers. In October 2012, we launched the first edition of the Shanghai International Beer Festival. I remember going around the city with my colleague Kevin Cowman, knocking on the door of every bar and restaurant in town to ask them to join the festival. Sam Maurey, one of the founders of The Ice Cream Truck, helped us with event production-related aspects and Deane Lin, owner of Dxcel, masterminded the promotion strategy. Launching that first festival was not easy and we had to deal with many setbacks. For instance, the location of the beer festival was flooded a few days before the opening and we faced power issues which delayed the start of the festival.
Despite all of these challenges, the first edition was hugely successful and attracted more than 10,000 visitors. From that day on, I was hooked and I started envisioning creating beer festivals as a potential career path. It became very obvious that we needed to create a professional event planning company to help the festival grow. Everything went very quickly. We recruited our first employee Florie Hut as our event manager and we set up Bevex, which means “Beverage Experts,” a company specialized in organizing beer related events.
What makes your beer festival different from let’s say Tsingtao or Dalian beer festival?
Our fans!!! Unlike other beer festivals, we are very international and much more engaged. This is our number one attraction. As a matter of fact, don’t expect to come to our festival to sit down and wait for Bavarian performances – it will not happen. However, if you are coming to discover beers, international foods, and to party, you’ll have a great time. With 200 different beers to choose from, SIBF has the widest variety of beers in China. The food is great too, with 40 international restaurants who adapt their menu to this event. You will have a great opportunity to taste different dishes. Last but not least, there are 20 different DJ’s which makes up a SIBF a music festival as well.
This year, you will be hosting 2 beer festivals in Shanghai, why is that?
Since the 2nd Edition of SIBF, it is an open secret that accommodating so many fans has been a challenge, especially on Saturday evening. We are limited in terms of space. There was a strong demand from both our visitors and exhibitors to organize it twice a year. That is why we decided to extend the coming beer festival to 4 days and to have it twice a year. For this coming edition, we are aiming at attracting 40,000 visitors.
What is going to be different at the 4th Edition of the Shanghai International Beer Festival?
SIBF IV will be a platform to demonstrate the dynamic growth of the beer market in Shanghai. This is about more than just the festival: it’s a celebration of the industry. The festival is just the tip of the iceberg. This will be demonstrated in something completely new to China: Brewnetwork China. With 100 beer industry professionals, Brewnetwork China is the first networking platform that will allow professionals to develop their business relationships. Participants will include equipment suppliers, micro brewers, importers/distributors, and F&B professionals. It will be a professional event and it will occur in a separate building in front of the festival on Friday, October 31st. Also new to SIBF, SIBF IV will be preceded by the Shanghai International Beer Festival Week. 10 days prior to the festival, there will be different beer related events across Shanghai. For example: microbrewery visits, beer and food matching classes, special menus at SIBF affiliated restaurants/bars, homebrewing workshops, beer discounts, and brews made especially for the festival. The hope is to make smarter, more engaged customers for beer in Shanghai.
Where: Wharf 1846 Bund Promenade, 601 Waima Lu, near Maojiayuan Lu
When: Oct 30 – Nov 2, 2014
Price: RMB50 at the door (includes one beer)