February 11, 2014

Arizona Strong Beer Fest: Behind the Scenes

Most of the stories you read on the Strong Beer Fest (SBF) are after-the-fact reviews. But I’d be willing to bet most of you don’t know what it takes to put on this premier beer event. Let’s take a peek at the main players and see how they flex their Strong Beer muscles on a daily basis.

Rob Fullmer, Arizona Craft Brewers Guild
Rob’s no rookie when it comes to SBF. A key contributor in the Arizona beer scene for many years, Rob recently took on the role of director for the Arizona Craft Brewer’s Guild. And being that the Guild essentially runs the Strong Beer show, one could say Rob is to SBF what Martin Scorsese is to Goodfellas — just without all the blood and violence.

Whether it’s writing a check, communicating with the agencies involved to ensure things are running smoothly (more on them below), or generating new festival ideas like the brewer’s lounge for meet-and-greet sessions, there’s really no better person to steer the Strong Beer ship. Just be sure to bear with him if he becomes a little testy the week of the big event. 

Tiffany Jarratt-Shultz, Up Agency
While word of mouth is always helpful, the Fest can’t promote itself. Enter the Up Agency. The marketing and PR firm for the Guild, Up is instrumental in receiving the lowdown and getting the good word out. Their main point of contact, Tiffany Jarratt-Shultz, is responsible for a tall order of tasks that include working closely with Rob to manage the Arizona Beer Week / Strong Beer Festival website and social media pages, ticket sales, design, print collateral, press releases and email blasts. And if that wasn’t enough, she can be found building partnerships and sponsorships for the Guild and SBF.

Landon Evans, HDE Agency
HDE has a knack for producing successful craft beer events. In just six years, they’ve grown to be Arizona's leader in producing beer-centric soirees — including the Strong Beer Fest and Ameri-CAN. From booking entertainment to coordinating vendors, volunteers, security and more, Landon and his team do all the logistical behind-the-scenes work that is imperative to the fest’s success. Evans mentions that it’s their mission to build a strong community, facilitate economic growth in Arizona and support local non-profit groups.

Arizona Society of Homebrewers
Last but not least, we can’t forget our friends at ASH. They graciously volunteer their time in helping the festival run like a well-oiled machine. They check in vendors, take tickets, pick up trash and pour beer to thirsty patrons. And, to me, this last one is key, because who would you rather have pour your beer: Joe Schmoe who would rather drink Bud Light or a knowledgeable, self-proclaimed beer geek? Yeah, me too.

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