October 22 – Angry Dan

Festival Phooey

My little sippers, my thesis is simple: the price of some liquor events is insane!

Case in point, Mrs. Sip and I were looking forward to attending our first Vancouver Hopscotch event this November, even making peace with the $50 (plus tax and service charge) cost that came along with the whiskey and scotch lover’s dream experience. That is, until we began looking into just what exactly our near $60 entrance fee entailed.

All you get for your little nest egg of an investment is a souvenir glass and five drink tokens. FIVE tokens! That works out to more than $10 a pop for a little tiny sample. Sure, they bring in stuff from around the world (around 300 products), including some libations you may never have the chance to taste otherwise, but that’s ridiculous value for your hard-earned cash. It also sounded like some booths could charge you more than one token per sample. That could translate to paying $20 or more for a little sip of liquor that you might not even enjoy.

Similarly, I turned down invites this summer to go to the Vancouver Craft Beer Week Beer Festival, not because I had other plans, but because I didn’t agree with the perks of the event. For $35 (plus taxes and fees, of course), attendees received a miniscule three tokens and the typical commemorative taster glass. Why in the world would I pay $10-plus per beer sample, when I could go to many local bars and get the same brews in pint-size servings for the same price? Hell, why wouldn’t I invest that $10 towards an entire pack or case of beers, at any nearby liquor store?

expensive-taste-low-budget

Sure, it only cost $1.10 (they couldn’t just round it off at a buck!?) at Hopscotch and $1.25 at the VCBW Beer Festival, for additional tokens, but that’s just added charges on top of your already high dowry. And guess what, if you happen to get a little hungry, you still have to pay extra for any food that may or may not be available.

For events like these, I’d rather they nix the bands or other entertainment and souvenir glass (how many of these do I really need cluttering up my cupboards?) and give everyone 10 tokens… even then, you’re not getting good bang for your buck. I know many vendors don’t even ask for your ticket or token, but some people (ie. your faithful Sip Advisor) usually gives it up willingly, in order to avoid that awkward moment between server and drinker.

Liquor events aren’t all bad, though. Mrs. Sip and I, along with Ma and Pa Sip, attended the Portland Beer and Wine festival last Easter and what an amazing event that was. For only $20, we received a souvenir glass and a whopping 10 tokens that could be spent on beer, wine, spirits, food items, a used vehicle (okay, not that one), etc. And additional tokens were only $1! Not to mention the live entertainment and info sessions that were all part of the spectacle. We will be back, as info for the 2015 event is already online with deals such as $22 for entry, a glass (wine or beer), and 10 tokens. That’s on top of free entry to the first 500 visitors on the Friday.

bender beer festival

Even in Canada, you can come across great events. In August, to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary, Mrs. Sip and I attended the Made with Love cocktail competition. We paid only $55 (the early bird price, but even full fare was only $65) and were treated to unlimited cocktail samples from 13 of the city’s top bartenders. On top of that, food was included and damnit, it was good. It still has me craving fried plantains!

Earlier the same summer, the Sip Alliance went to the annual Tip N’ Taste event in Langley, B.C. We had been a couple times many years before, but had lost interest when event organizers lost their way and dramatically raised prices to the event. This year, the price was back down to what it should be, $25. With that, attendees received five drink tokens and five food tokens with a great variety of vendors on both sides of the equation.

Well, now that I’ve cleared my conscious and had my little rant, let’s have a little drink together!

Sip Commentary #1: Angry Dan

Angry Dan Cocktail

  • 2 oz Southern Comfort
  • 2 oz Fireball Whiskey
  • Top with Cola
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

Want to get your own displeasure with liquor event pricing off your chest? Feel free to vent with a profanity-laced comment below!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
For this inaugural commentary (aka rant) post – more to come in the future – I wanted a drink that had the word “Angry” in it and coincidentally, this cocktail actually includes the Sip Advisor’s first name! The drink was quite nice with a soft burn at the end of each sip. The only downside is that it’s a typical liquor and mixer cocktail, lacking any real complexity.

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