Dear Reserve Society Members,
I'd like to sincerely apologize for the very long lines and disorganization of yesterday. Everyone at The Bruery agrees with the sentiments that more should have been done to accommodate the very large crowd.
When I woke up yesterday, I felt like it was going to be a great day for The Bruery. My soon-to-be-born daughter Charlotte hadn't forced my wife into labor, so I was actually going to make it to the largest party we've ever put on. I was up especially early so I could get a head start on the day, and I felt that we were generally well prepared. Then the party started.
While we were planning this event, we expected approximately 1,000 guests after receiving around 1,300 RSVP's. We checked in 997 people, so I'm happy to report this prediction was correct! We chose to have the event at The Phoenix Club because our small brewery can no longer handle the size of these events-- we'd need to have 5 or 6 sessions at this point. As far as check-in goes, we needed a method where multiple people wouldn't be able to check in under the same name, so having multiple lists of members printed out might have resulted in this happening. Using our database to check people in helped avoid this problem, but the process did take longer than it should have. With regard to the amount of beer stations, I felt that with ample room, lines would move more efficiently than they do normally at our brewery, and thought having three separate stations (with the truck station being the equivalent of 4 stations) would be sufficient. In retrospect, I was way off the mark and I feel like beating my head against the wall for not anticipating this. Not to make excuses, but we've all been under a lot of pressure lately with our latest expansion (which will almost double our capacity), and I've been distracted by thoughts of having to take care of another human being.
As we plan for our next big event, our Anniversary party, we are keeping track of everything that needs to change from this event. You can expect to see paper tickets for any event with more than 400 attendees. We will refine our estimates to determine how many beer stations and bartenders we'll require (one station per 100 guests for a 3 hour event). While I think our draft truck is remarkably cool, it didn't work out to be the equivalent of 4 stations that I was anticipating. We'll also have to work with our friends who run these fantastic food trucks to see what can be done on their end to speed the process. We'd love to get Beachwood BBQ back as well!
We will attempt to make this up to you throughout the year and I hope we can quickly convince you that you made a great choice by being a Reserve Society member. For starters, one project we're working on that will start in February is having more frequent Reserve Society gatherings. These will take place on a Saturday starting around noon and finishing around 3:30 PM before our tasting room opens to the general public. We might feature beers from our Nano series, pull a special keg from the archive, and have some sort of educational component. We'll have some sort of delicious food available, and we'll encourage you to bring bottles to share if you're so inclined. Since these events will happen at our brewery, we will have to limit the number of attendees. I anticipate receiving a good amount of flack from those who aren't able to RSVP in time! Oh well, they'll be fun events and they'll happen regularly. Perhaps we can call them "Clusterfork" parties?
We also have a lot of great beers in the pipeline that I hope you'll enjoy! Everyone at The Bruery would like to wish you a safe, healthy, and beer filled 2011!