SAVOR has always been held in Washington, DC, and since that’s also where American Craft Beer is based, we didn’t want to like that it was being held in New York City this year. And as happy as we are to hear that it will be returning to the Nation’s Capital next year, we have to admit that we had a total blast up at SAVOR last weekend, and that hosting it in NYC was a good idea for a number of reasons…
Craft Beer has Arrived in New York City and Having SAVOR in the City Showcases its Emergence
Not unlike Los Angeles, New York City arrived later to the craft beer scene than other parts of the country. Some suggest that the city’s still primarily a wine and mixed drink town, but there’s no denying that craft beer now matters here big-time. And although this fact seems to have largely escaped The New York Times, which continues to treat beer as a proletariat afterthought in its pages, all you need to do is hit the sidewalks to understand just how much craft beer is now a part of this city. Yes, New York’s Irish Pubs are still there, but more and more, they are giving way to young-end and cutting-edge craft beer bars, such as Blind Tiger in the village (which was packed when we dropped in for a pre-Savor brewers happy hour last Friday) or Zach Mack’s Alphabet City Beer Company, which we also hit on the lower eastside.
A New Location Can Revitalize an Event’s Vibe
Hey, we love DC. It’s an awesome city and a great place to visit for an event… But so is New York City. Having SAVOR up in Manhattan this year changed things perceptually in interesting ways and that vibe carried over to the event itself. As much as we love the majesty of Washington, DC’s National Building Museum that has hosted SAVOR in the past, we enjoyed the sleek urbanity of the Altman Building and its adjoining Metropolitan Pavilion, with its stylish flow and its fashion district lighting. And just as the history and grandeur of DC’s Building Museum added to last year’s SAVOR experience, so too did this year’s contemporary New York City setting.
New York is a World-Class City with a World-Class Stage
We kept asking our friends in the brewing community what they thought of serving up their wares in the Big Apple, and the feedback we got back was overwhelmingly positive. For some, it was a return – Elysian’s Dick Cantwell shared with us that he’d actually lived in New York City in a previous life and Brewery Ommegang’s brewmaster Phil Leinhart began his brewing career in the city. For others, such as The Bronx Brewery’s Chris Gallant and Damian Brown, this year’s SAVOR was an opportunity to share their locally brewed beers with a national audience as well as with industry peers, like Stone’s Greg Koch or New Belgium’s Kim Jordan.
We’d be bummed if SAVOR wasn’t returning to Washington next year – but last weekend’s event was beautifully staged and struck all the right chords. New York City was an ambitious and exciting choice to host SAVOR 2013 – the Brewers Association set the bar high and overachieved brilliantly. This year’s SAVOR was as good as, and maybe even better than, some that have taken place in Washington, DC…
And that’s just the truth of it.