Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

March 31, 2015 at 9:18am

Beer Guy Garage Sale to benefit Citizens for a Healthy Bay

Will 7 Seas Brewing swag created by Kotis Design be available for purchase at The Swiss April 4? Drop by between noon and 5 p.m. and find out. Photo courtesy of kotisdesign.com

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In 1976, most of America may have been focused on the bicentennial, but for me, I sunk into my lime green beanbag and watched Star Trek. I would yell at the red-shirted extras to stay alive aboard the USS Enterprise. During the AMC Pacer commercials, I'd study my Star Fleet Technical Manual.

In 2015, most of America may be focused on the minimum wage issue, but for me, I sink into my International Caravan Bali 42-inch Rattan Papasan Chair with Cushion and read beer release stat sheets. I yell at Russian River Brewing to send Pliny the Younger to my planet. DuringMcConaughey's Lincoln Motor Company commercials, I'd study my Cicerone Certification Program study guide.

Star Trek geeks and beer geeks share similar traits, and not just the prevalence of T-shirt wearing guys with beards, albeit the latter don free beer fest volunteer T-shirts. Both sets of geeks spot a warren of minutia and terminology that can make even a Romulan Ale brewer's head spin. Both possess an enormous collection of related schwag. And, there's a lot of yelling when someone drops a Tribble/beer.

The kings of the beer geeks, in my book, are the brewery sales representatives, or beer reps. It's their job to know beer inside and out. They need the knowledge to have intelligent conversations with their boss, the brewery owner, the brewery's brewmaster, as well as the distributor who, er, distributes their beer, the establishments that sell their beer and the consumers who attended their brewery promotions - the people who matter the most.

It's a complicated system, thanks to the U.S. government. You see, the 21st Amendment, which ended Prohibition in the U.S., gave the states the authority to regulate alcohol within their borders. Almost every state, including Washington state, adopted the "three tier system" as the legal structure in which alcohol sales must occur within the state. In a nutshell, this means that a brewer/importer can only sell to a wholesaler, who can only sell to a retailer, who can only sell to consumers. It also requires legal separation between each of these tiers. In other words, a company can't brew beer and own a bar (unless there's an exception such as for brewpubs). Many wholesalers are large companies that own refrigerated warehouses and a fleet of refrigerated trucks. Their focus is on selling and delivering the beer brands they represent to retailers. The beer rep is responsible for the promotion and sales of a beer in a territory, working hand-in-hand with all parties previously mentioned.

How geeky are beer reps? When he's not out repping San Francisco brewery 21st Amendment to Washington state establishments Colin Harvin cellars beer and trades beer with other fellow beer geeks, that is when he's not searching for rarities on his phone. Eugene's Hop Valley Brewing rep Rob Brunsman sleeps in his Hop Valley vest and will chat with every single person, even if there are hundreds, during his promotions. Although he can't grow a beard, and always smells like beer (according to Brunsman), Kevin Lind, rep at 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor, knows the total breakdown from hops to malt to styles, and loves explaining the process.

Similar to Trekkies, beer reps also possess scads of schwag - meaning beer-related stuff, not "low-grade pot" as defined by the Urban Dictionary. The growing craft beer industry has lead to the growth of all kinds of periphery businesses, and a beer rep carts tons of his or her brewery's T-shirts, glassware, tins, inflatables, beer soap, coasters, craft beer earrings or "beerings," stickers and such around a specified territory, marketing the brewery and giving the schwag away. The paraphernalia piles up, due to overproduction, discontinued beers or brew that never made it to final production such as Puyallup Public Swimming Pool Porter, Buckley Bimbo Barleywine, Fuzzy Mouthfeel Peach Lambic or maybe even Eatonville Enigma Brown Something-or-other. Open up a beer reps' garage and you'll see an amassment of beer posters, buttons, bottle openers, life-size cardboard replications of brewers, drum kits made out of wooden barrels, beer can bracelets, iPhone covers that resemble frothy beer mugs and, in front of the pile, stands an angry spouse.

Marine View Beverage distributors came up with an idea to rid the reps of all their brewery's booty, and simultaneously support the effort to clean up, restore and protect Commencement Bay, its surrounding waters and natural habitat. The afternoon of Saturday, April 4, The Swiss Restaurant and Pub will host the Beer Guy Garage Sale, the opportunity to furnish home bars and man cave's with the leftover beer schwag from beer reps.

"We're combining two of Tacomans' favorite things - beer and the Bay," says Ian VanDooren, manager at The Swiss. "The folks from Citizens for a Healthy Bay will be on hand to collect money at the sales tables, auction off whatever really cool stuff we get - basketball hoops, hockey goals, coolers, neon signs and such - and also inform folks on their mission."

"It's pretty brilliant," says Karen Gogins, Partnerships and Communication manager with Citizens for a Healthy Bay. "This garage sale will be selling all of that leftover merchandise to raise funds for our clean water programs."

Drop by The Swiss Saturday afternoon and shop the schwag tables. Maybe you'll find that perfect beer lamp to go with your lime green beanbag or a lime green Rattan Papasan Chair.

BEER GUY GARAGE SALE, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 4, The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, no cover, 253.572.2821

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Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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