Volunteers Tap ‘Beer Geek’ Knowledge at Great American Beer Festival

The Brewers Association is bringing back a group of Beer Geeks—or knowledgeable beer enthusiasts—for the second year at its festival to help educate volunteers on the different beers and breweries that will be showcased.

Luckily for volunteers at this year’s upcoming Great American Beer Festival, a group of “Beer Geeks” will be on tap to provide some perspective and in-depth knowledge on the almost 3,000 beers being poured at the event.

Now in its second year, the program, sponsored by the Brewers Association, is meant to help educate the almost 3,000 volunteers about the different beers and breweries represented at GABF as well as train them on proper pouring techniques. Volunteers are then able to pass that information on to the roughly 50,000 attendees headed to GABF this October.

“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,” Carol Hiller, GABF’s volunteer coordination leader, said in a statement. “Our refocused Beer Geeks program will help tremendously with this knowledge transfer.”

The 50 geeks represent beer enthusiasts from around the country, and were brought back this year by popular demand from volunteers and brewers who attended last year’s event, the Brewers Association told craft beer industry publication Brewhound.

By educating volunteers, attendees get a better experience, and so, too, do the breweries, Jeremy Cowan, owner and founder of Shmaltz Brewing, told the publication.

“In any festival environment where people are piled in to have a great time, it can be a great challenge,” Cowan said. “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.”

Two to three geeks will be stationed at each section of the festival, with about one geek per 10 to 15 breweries, Nancy Johnson, GABF event director, told Brewhound. The geeks are also providing laminated beer guides describing the beers.

“Sharing awareness and education about the breweries and beers at the festival is a win-win for everyone—the volunteer, the brewery, and, most importantly, the beer fans at the GABF,” Johnson said in a statement.


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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