Last year one of the highlights of my summer was the Connoisseurs Tasting event put on by Choice City Butcher and Deli the Friday before the Colorado Brewers’ Festival. While the festival the next day was full of flagship and standard beers, owner Russ Robinson was able to use his role in the beer community to obtain some truly amazing beers for the Connoisseurs Tasting, an event he holds annually. Plus, these great beers were paired with delectable bites from Choice City Butcher and Deli.
This year, the Connoisseurs Tasting is happening not once, but twice.
The Downtown Business Association is putting on the event without Choice City Butcher and Deli. Without Choice City’s permission, they took the idea that Russ has spent the last 5 years developing and evolving and are now using it as their own idea to help fund their organization.
The Colorado Brewers’ Festival is the biggest fundraiser for the DBA and helps fund other events such as First Night Fort Collins and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. In 2009, nearly 20,000 people packed the festival, but caused issues with local businesses and had to be moved. Since then, attendance has dropped to nearly half, leaving the DBA without much needed funding. While I support the DBA’s efforts in the community, and the Colorado Brewers’ Festival, the way they are choosing to go about recovering that lost revenue is appalling.
The Downtown Business Association is an organization meant to promote and support our local businesses, not poach off their success and hard work. This past week, the DBA sent out emails to all of its members, declaring the week before the Colorado Brewers’ Festival as “beer week” and encouraging businesses to hold special promotions, events and more in support of our beer community. But where is the DBA’s support?
According to Robinson, the DBA did not contact him about any sort of collaboration efforts to host the event. He only found out that his event was taken when he was tipped off by members of the beer community. Robinson was already in the planning stages of his event, which he intends to host at The Aggie Theater, where it has been held in previous years. When speaking with a local brewer, who wishes to remain anonymous, when he was contacted about supplying beer for the Connoisseurs Tasting, he was lead to believe that this was the same event that Choice City has hosted for the last 4 years.
When you purchase your tickets for this years Connoisseurs Tasting event, make sure you are purchasing the tickets from Choice City Butcher and Deli to support the event they have spent years crafting.
Tickets for the 4th Annual Connoisseurs Tasting go on sale Wednesday June 5th and you can purchase them at Choice City Butcher and Deli!
Messages left with the Downtown Business Association have not been returned.
UPDATE: Statement from the DBA
For 24 years there has been a Friday night event before the Colorado Brewers’ Festival called “Brewers’ Dinner”. It has historically been a chance for just industry professionals to connect and socialize.
Over the years, the public has asked for more chances to interact with their favorite brewers and taste specialty and exclusive Colorado beer.
A few years ago a connoisseur event was created by Choice City Butcher and Deli, this seemed to be a great opportunity for collaboration. Last year, we partnered with Choice City Butcher and Deli on an exclusive public beer tasting event. It was successful in bringing beer geeks and media together with our Colorado brewers and industry professionals, and filled a much needed element of the Colorado Brewers’ Festival.
Unfortunately this year, we will both be doing independent events to celebrate Colorado beer. So out of respect, we are changing the name of our Friday night event to “All Brewers’ Eve”.
It is a great chance to meet with brewers and taste some of the premium brews Colorado has to offer. Here’s to a great 2013!