By Alex Cosgrove

News from the Brewhouse No. 8 – Festival Frolics

Welcome to the latest edition of News from the Brews. This month we decided to try and hold on to the last of the summer and look back on our record breaking summer of events and festivals.

If you’ve been following our social media you’ll have seen Purity has been at lots of events and festivals this summer, it was in fact a record breaking summer for Purity in terms of the number of events undertaken. From Bruce Springsteen at the Ricoh Arena, Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul, Ocean Colour Scene, Birmingham Beer Bash, Tap Takeovers to Lunar Festival and Moseley Folk it has been an incredible summer. So as the sunshine fades we got an insight into what goes on behind the scenes at all these events with our Marketing & Events team.

Our Marketing & Events Manager Ian Parkes, our Marketing & Events Coordinator Alex Cosgrove and our Head of Logistics Ian Back have had a mammoth summer with events almost every weekend. So after a small rest bite we decided to grab a chat with them to find out just what it takes to deliver our award winning beer to all of these events.

As Marketing & Events manager how do you decide which events and festivals to get involved with?

IP: We make sure that we work with events that enable us to get close to our consumers, align with our values and interests and those festivals which care about the quality of the beers that they offer to the festival goers. Music is close to our hearts at Purity and we have been lucky enough to work with some of the most exciting and well respected festivals within the U.K. We started off working with the Moseley Festivals, Soul/Funk and Folk and 10 years later still work with the festival to supply great beer to accompany the amazing music. Since then we have seen our beer go out to Wilderness, Shambala, Lunar Festival and most recently Camper Calling to name but a few. The festival scene has also been a great way for us to retain a real connection to our local community none more so than the likes of Kineton and Napton Music Festivals and Alcester Food Festival. We love to see people enjoying our beers and being at the festival is a great way for us to do this.

What event has been the most challenging this summer?

IP: All of the festivals we work with present their own challenges but mainly because of our own high standards that we set for the beer. We are committed to making sure that you get as good a pint as you’d get in your local pub but at your favourite outdoor festival. This in itself is no mean feat as you have to deal with bigger temperature differentials, interesting terrain for heavy beer deliveries and a turnover of beer which makes good cellar management essential to getting the beer conditioned to our exacting ‘Pure Quality’ standards. Luckily we have a team here at Purity who love cask beer and take real pride in serving a pint in the best possible condition.

IB: I found the Mostly Jazz very challenging this year especially with the addition of the OCS Concert at the end of the week. We were presented with a new location for the main bar which in itself was a challenge to set up due to the uneven ground and ensuring the racking was erected securely and that stock was kept as cool as possible prior to the events. The positive feedback regarding the quality of the beer and the visual impact made it all worthwhile!

As Head of Logistics you must work very closely with Ian P how does it work with getting the event delivered from set up with the marketing team?

IB: I have worked with Ian for a few years now setting up and delivering events and we have developed a really strong relationship. We both understand the importance of quality and brand presentation and both fully understand that event organisers are likely to change their mind or have new ideas along the way which need to be catered for. Working together as a team on these events means that every eventuality can be covered, from emergency orders to technical service and training. We also have a really strong Distribution Team who all understand the complexities of these events and are willing to get stuck in to ensure that they run as smoothly and as profitably as possible.

Alex you were looking after the Ricoh for Bruce Springsteen whilst everyone else was at Lunar how was that?

AC: What an evening! It was a busy week that week with the build up to Lunar Festival as well so I spent the most part of the week over there. We had seen the crowd queuing on social media and thought it was going to be busy but nothing could prepare you for site when I got to the Ricoh! We delivered a record amount of beer to the Ricoh for the gig and it all went! Thankfully the training that Ian and I have delivered to the guys there ensured people got served a quality pint swiftly. We got some great images and had some great social media interaction on the night which combined with Lunar allowed us to kick start a weekend of music!

Music is a key part of Purity’s core values why is that?

IP: Music, like food, beer and cycling are all things which you tend to have to get under the skin of to get the most from. Most people that are into their music are into their food, beer and music aren’t satisfied with simply eating it, drinking it and listening to it, they want to understand, how and why it is made and what the provenance behind it is. We are a pretty creative bunch at Purity and the soundtrack to our lives often provide the creative driving force to the way we do business. We constantly have music on in the office and the incredible thing about our staff is that they rarely disagree on the music choice. 6 Music tends to keep us all happy and helps us all to generate a lively and creative office.

What is the most challenging aspect of delivering quality beer to events?

IB: Temperature and hygiene, by their nature many of these events have no chilled storage and often have to be delivered through a variety of mediums, mud and dust being just two……. Through careful delivery and staff training we ensure that the final serve is as good as the first and the first is of the highest standard. Obviously weather has a major effect on delivering to outside events (let alone its effect on crowd numbers) therefore the elements have to be carefully considered when planning deliveries and storing beer during the event.

Lastly which has been the most enjoyable event this summer for you?

IP: We all love Lunar Festival. We run the entire bar at Lunar, which means we look after everything from the cellar management to the front of house. The festival is brilliant and it gives us the opportunity for the entire team to be put up in front of our consumers and to show them what Purity are all about. Lunar has a great line up and assortment of food and activities, the vibe is awesome and everyone enjoys the atmosphere, which is supremely chilled out. Personally for me Lunar marks the start of the summer and there is no better time for us at Purity than staring ahead at a long, busy summer!

IB: Similar to IP really – Lunar is a mammoth effort from the whole Purity team but very rewarding. Despite the challenge it proved I did love the Ocean Colour Scene gig straight after Mostly Jazz. It was another huge effort from everyone involved to deliver two sell-out crowds our beer and we even had to deliver extra beer in on Friday night!

AC:  Tough one, Bruce Springsteen as I was in charge (kind of), Birmingham Beer Bash was great to enjoying some awesome beers and chatting to fellow beer fans. But for me Lunar is always a highlight and this year was no exception, I even roped in a mate from home to become an honorary Purity member! It is truly like nothing else that weekend and if you haven’t been you need to check out next year and make sure to go through the Magic Door.