Good Beer Hunting

Sightlines — Goose Island Brings Annual Block Party to London

On Sept. 24th, Goose Island will bring its renowned 312 Urban Block Party to London, just a day after its annual Chicago event begins. This is the latest in a series of high-brow Goose events in London, following a string of “Migration Week” events in collaboration with their AB-owned partners Camden Town Brewery in February.

As local markets become increasingly competitive and sales leads dry up, breweries will continue to seek expansion in other markets—and there are few markets in beer as ripe for the taking as London right now.

With a population of almost 9 million and the majority of London's 80-odd breweries still very much at the beginning of their journey, the opportunities afforded by this export market are huge. Brooklyn Brewery recently found success by hosting a “Beer Mansion” event back in May as part of its London Mash series of events. Goose intends to follow a similar strategy with a Block Party hosted at Red Market in Shoreditch, East London.

While many breweries seek to figure out what exactly “local” means as they expand and attempt to move into other markets, larger breweries such as Goose and Brooklyn are using some marketing muscle to bring the look, feel, and taste of local to other markets. But do events like these provide brands with a boost in market presence and revenue equal to investment, or do sales flatten out once the event is a distant memory? Today’s modern consumer is savvy enough to spot the difference between local and localization, so perhaps trying to emulate local culture by transplanting an international one is not the strongest route to market.

Brooklyn’s Beer Mansion event was a success—its beer's presence in the UK capital is strong evidence of this. It’s likely that Goose Islands event will have a similar impact. London’s fledgling breweries may have to look beyond strategies other than remaining local if they are to stay competitive. This could also mean UK breweries looking for opportunities in a vastly larger beer market such as the U.S., as Camden Town’s founder Jasper Cuppaidge told us recently.

Goose Island to stage Block Party in London [Event Magazine]

—Matthew Curtis