Thursday, July 18, 2019

Christmas Craft Beer Show brings more than just brews

November 21, 2018 by Josiah Snell, contributing writer

Trevor Thors has a vision of what the perfect beer event is, and he’s throwing everything he has into making sure that each incarnation of his annual Christmas Craft Beer Show at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre is as close as possible to that vision. The event—now in its third year—is a carefully curated and meticulously designed opportunity for people to socialize, dance, and drink, but for Thors it’s more than that: it’s a passion project.

“I’ve always had the philosophy of ‘build it and they will come.’ My personal goal is to not have less than a perfect event, and to develop it and make it more perfect and more perfect every year. If you build an event that’s a success, people will gravitate to it,” he says, adding, “I don’t want to be coming back to this event in five years and be able to say that it hasn’t changed.”

The Christmas Craft Beer Show is back for its third year (photo by Jon Howe).

This emphasis on building something lasting and integral is a key part of Thors’ design philosophy for the show; this isn’t meant to be an afterthought to the summer beer events, but rather an anticipated event in its own right. At the same time, he’s conscious of the season and the host of other demands on people’s time, but he says what he wants is to add a new and exciting option to that list.

“The way I envision Christmas is people are busy because they want to go to something, so now I’m just trying to build that option,” says Thors. “Whether it’s a staff party, or a friend’s party, or whatever your options are—going to see The Nutcracker at the theatre, anything like that—I just want this to be one of those options.”

The biggest thing Thors is bringing to the table with his show is something he feels is often desperately missing in local beer events: entertainment.

“We’ve all been to the beer fest where all you’re doing is going line to line slamming beers and by the end of the night you’re a hot mess, and you can’t stand up straight, and you wonder what the heck you spent your money on that day,” he says. “Whereas if you go to a pub, you’re there for four hours. How many beers are you going to drink at a pub in four hours? You might drink four or five or six. Well, realistically, that’s the same as having 24 samples over four hours, but what’s going to stop you from slamming them back and just getting in line and getting the next one? You need to have that ancillary stuff that allows you to have fun without needing to be drinking beer all the time.”

Of course there’s more to it than just adding a band or two to the mix, and, according to Thors, they’ve got every base covered—even some that patrons might not have realized they’d been missing before now. 

“We’re trying to make it into more of an all-around, inclusive event,” he says. “It’s not so loud that you can’t have a conversation with your friends, but at the same time there’s music in the background, there’s tables to sit at, there’s dance floors. We put it on the breweries to decorate up as a Christmas theme; there’s prizes for guests that dress up in their ugly sweaters and Christmas costumes. We just want it to be a fun place. Vessel Liquor brings a pop-up store so that any of the breweries on the floor that you try, you can take something home with you. It’s an unbelievable setup—if you like a beer, the majority of them you can go purchase right there.”

For Thors, keeping the momentum going is the most important thing now—a task that shouldn’t prove too difficult, as he says this year is already shaping up to be the best one yet.

“It’s obviously getting to the point where the breweries themselves think it’s a must-attend event from their perspective,” he says. “We just have to get the fans on the same page, and we’re definitely on track for a sellout this year.”

Christmas Craft Beer Show
5 pm Friday, November 30 and 1 pm Saturday, December 1
$40, Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre

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