After a successful 2017 exchange with Iceland, the Maine Brewers’ Guild chose the United Kingdom for their 2018 Global Beer Exchange. Broadreach Public Relations was tapped to lead public relations in Iceland, and again for the UK, so we packed our bags and hit the road!
In 2017, the Maine Brewers’ Guild created the Maine Beer Box, a refrigerated shipping container outfitted with 78 taps that holds more than 300 kegs of beer, can travel anywhere in the world by land or sea, and host pop-up beer festivals. It would serve to bring Maine craft brewers together and share the Maine brand with the world. After a successful 2017 exchange with Iceland, the Maine Brewers’ Guild chose the United Kingdom for their 2018 Global Beer Exchange.
Broadreach Public Relations was tapped to lead public relations in Iceland and again for the United Kingdom, so we packed our bags and hit the road! Here’s a 36ish hour glimpse at what it takes to pull off PR for a four-day international craft beer festival!
Portland – Maine
5:00AM – I’m up before my five-month-old, which is really saying something. Because of the time difference between Portland and the United Kingdom, we’ve been rising early to do all of our media outreach for the past week. I send some pitches to U.K. media and check in with our team on the ground in Leeds to see how things are going.
7:00AM – I’ve heard back from the team in Leeds and we’re scrambling to update the 85 plus brewers on weather conditions (cold and rainy!) and the location of a welcome reception that will happen that evening. We’ve arranged for presentations about exporting craft beer and have speakers from Eimskip, Kirkstall Brewery, Shipyard Brewing Company, RSM UK, and Beer52.
10:00AM – We have a TV crew confirmed for coverage tonight! I talk to the Guild’s Executive Director, Sean Sullivan, confirm that he will be available, and run through talking points. We’ve had a few local media hits in print and online about the festival and excitement seems high.
Noon – The TV crew has to cancel, but we want to salvage the opportunity. While it isn’t ideal, we arrange to have them come tomorrow during set-up for what will be the busiest session of the Leeds International Beer Festival. This means creating some visuals and arranging to have some brewers arrive early.
2:00PM – My bags are packed and I’m off to the airport! I’ll be flying from Boston to Manchester and then hopping on a train to Leeds.
6:00AM – I’ve arrived in the UK! While I was flying, we had a potential major change in plans that would impact media. It looks like everything has been worked out, but I check in to find out the latest. All is well, so I grab a coffee and croissant and wait for my train to Leeds.
8:00AM – While I’m on the train, I go through coverage of the Beer Box and the Leeds International Beer Festival from the previous night. Everything looks positive and we’ve had a lot of social media engagement. I follow up with the TV crew and send out some additional media pitches to outlets we have not heard back from yet.
10:00AM – I check into my hotel room, douse my hair in dry shampoo and throw on some fresh makeup. After an overnight flight and train ride, I need an IV of coffee and a shower, but right now I have to get to the festival. My colleague, Emily Colt is leading a tour around Leeds, so I will be on-site for media today. She and Broadreach President Linda Varrell have been here for 2 days already holding it down!
Noon – I’ve been at the festival for a little while now! After a warm welcome from the brewers, we knocked out the TV interview and now we’re setting up shots on the steps of the Leeds City Hall with Sean Sullivan and Trade Ministers from the UK for a newspaper article. It’s pretty amazing to see everything come together after 6 months of planning!
2:00PM – The festival is in full swing and the Maine Beer Box is front and center for thousands of international craft beer fans. It really is an amazing moment for our state and the Maine brand! There are more media calls to make, and tomorrow we’ll be joined by an International Trade Delegation from Maine, but now it’s time to pull a pint and toast Maine beer!