A couple of weeks ago my buddy Chris over at Beer With Me TO decided to call shenanigans on OCB Week and the bizarre number of Mill Street cheese pairing events. He got some more facts and posted a correction, but his main point was correct: having a nightly event at the same establishment that gets posted under every day is shenanigans. This is something we’ve seen before from OCB Week and Toronto Beer Week: a restaurant or bar has some offer, like a pint and burger deal or beer and cheese pairing, then gets their “event” plastered on every page without really being much of an event. There are often no beer reps at the establishment and you’ll be lucky if the server even knows what you’re talking about. I completely agreed with Chris’ point that it was incredibly annoying to see the same events repeatedly and clearly someone at OCB Week must have agreed as well.
I was looking at the Toronto listings in advance of writing this post and noticed that events that ran daily were now grouped at the bottom of the page. This makes it much easier to see the unique events while scrolling the page and gives a much cleaner look. Plus breweries can no longer get more publicity for their events by running them on multiple nights. My hats off to Chris for calling shenanigans and getting results. In contrast, all the Amsterdam events now stand out – they are launching a one-off almost every night in a different bar. These are all unique events with special beers, so kudos to them for putting in the effort.
While we’re talking about the OCB Week, is anyone else underwhelmed this year by the Toronto events? It starts on Sunday and the general impression I get from the events is meh. Assuming no last minute additions, there is only one event on Friday (not counting the everyday events), which is sad. (The Friday event is listed as an Amsterdam event at C’est What, but it also appears that C’est What will be running a Summer Festival of Craft Breweries on Friday and Saturday, which is not listed in the OCB Week events.) Of course, the planning of events is completely up to bars and restaurants in conjunction with the breweries, so blame does not fall solely on the shoulders of the OCB Week folks. Most of the events can be traced back to a few select breweries as a lot of the regional breweries seem to be sticking closer to home, which is understandable. For me, it highlights the number of breweries in Toronto that aren’t part of the OCB (Bellwoods, Spearhead, Indie Ale House, House Ales and more). I’m sure it will be a great week, but my wallet may not feel the pinch as it has in previous years.