Big Pour Week scheduled for September
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While plans still are brewing for a possible Pittsburgh Beer Week, there will be a beer almost-week in the city this year, as the fifth Steel City Big Pour, the popular craft beer and food and art fest fundraiser for Construction Junction, grows from one event into five days of events.
Say hello to Big Pour Week, to start Wednesday Sept. 7, leading up to the Big Pour Five on its usual second Saturday of Sept. 10, and winding up on Sept. 11.
"Since the excitement and demand had gotten so big, why not expand the event?" says David Lagnese, the Construction Junction board member and "instigator" of the fest that last year raised about $100,000 for the Point Breeze recycler of building materials -- and enabled many to have a great time.
Some 1,400 people swarmed each of two sessions, which sold out in hours at $55 per ticket. Related events already were popping up before and after.
Mr. Lagnese says Construction Junction has been considering expanding the fest, but did not want to make it bigger in space or sessions because, "We would risk ruining the event," and because presenting it is taxing for the organization, which still has to operate as a retail outlet seven days a week.
That's why he thinks it's a great idea to grow to other days and other venues. This will allow more entities to be involved, especially restaurants, breweries, beer bars and bottle shops. He says, "We just have a great affinity for the craft beer industry."
There has been talk this spring, starting with a meeting at Penn Brewery, about starting a beer week in Pittsburgh, like the now big ones in cities including Philadelphia. Not having one bothers people including Mr. Lagnese, who has been part of that local discussion group.
After announcing the Pour news to them, he stressed this doesn't mean to supplant a Pittsburgh Beer Week. "I personally think the more, the merrier."
So brewers and others in the industry still are talking about possibly starting a separate week and are in the process of setting up a second meeting in June.
Mr. Lagnese wants their input on Big Pour Week, too. As he announced in an email earlier this week, "I can promise you that myself and everyone on the Big Pour organizing committee will work hard to make this an event that truly supports and expands the market for craft beer in our community."
The committee still needs to work out details, and Mr. Lagnese is inviting participation as well as proposals for events, which he hopes will, like the Pour, incorporate music and art, and also support Construction Junction and its mission of reuse and sustainability.
"Our emphasis will be on a smaller number of high-quality craft beer events (vs. the hundreds that are part of Philly and Cleveland beer weeks)," he wrote. "We want to have a variety ... tasting events, beer dinners, brewing demonstrations, brewery tours, etc."
He says, "The truth is that we don't really know what Big Pour Week will evolve into, just as we didn't know what the original Big Pour would grow into."
We'll write more in this space about the event, and about beer week plans. Meanwhile, for more, contact Mr. Lagnese at firstname.lastname@example.org; the Big Pour website is constructionjunction.org/pages/bigpour.
First Published May 19, 2011 12:00 am