What is it about a plate of smoked meats lacquered in barbecue sauce that pairs so well with an ice cold beer or a neat glass of southern bourbon? Although we’re in the midst of the winter season, a type of festival typically reserved for warmer weather is making its triumphant return to New York City in a few short weeks and is certain to chase away your cold weather blues. The third annual Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival is on its way back to Manhattan, amongst several other stops- to the west side’s la. venue- for two full sessions of tasty ‘cue and boozy beverages.
This year’s festival promises over 60 different beers, 40 different bourbons, and enough barbecue purveyors to soak up all of the day’s offered liquor. With live bluegrass performances, tasty food demonstrations, and a heated cigar tent for relaxing, this year’s Festival has pulled out all the stops for entertaining attendees. And the all you can drink beer and bourbon helps too. There are two different tasting sessions from which to choose. There’s the Bacon Bash Session (12-4pm), featuring over ten different bacon samples from gourmet chefs around the country. There’s also the Whole Hog Session (5:30-9:30pm) featuring 3 different ‘Cue masterminds, each manning a pit of pulled pork for you to taste with fixins included. The Whole Hog Session is also showing of the slicing and dicing of 4 whole hogs, served in a variety of ways- nose to tail. And for just $95 a person, you can enjoy all the festivities and not worry about eating or drinking for the rest of the day. VIPs can combine both experiences into one for the Grand Poobah Session, which is limited to just 100 people (details below).
LocalBozo.com sat down with Greg Nivens, President of the Trigger Agency, organizers of the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival for a candid look at what we can expect from this year’s event. You can find all the ticketing info below, but don’t wait- tickets are moving quickly and this event will sell out. With a good buzz on and our faces covered in grease, we’ll see you at the Festival.
LocalBozo.com: Talk a little bit about how the concept for the Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival came to fruition.
Greg Nivens: We had an event evaporate on us and we were all geared up to put on another event. So we sat around and thought about the things we like to do- eat, drink- and literally from our southern redneck upbringing came this event. We launched the first one five years ago in Maryland and haven’t looked back since.
LocalBozo.com: Can you elaborate on this year’s theme- “What a redneck might do in the Urban Jungle of Manhattan” and how it will play into the event.
GN: The whole show is always about this, but this tagline is referring to our Grand Poobah tasting. Each year we try to step it up a notch and tweak our themes. In our Poobah dinner this year, we are going to serve both types of North Carolina BBQ and try to set the record straight as to which is best- west or east.
LocalBozo.com: With so many dates in the south, what made you choose New York City as the only northern date for the Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival for the third year in a row?
GN: We’ve done other shows in New York City since 2000 for mostly magazine clients and we enjoy the vibe of Manhattan. There is nothing like the Big Apple- especially for media. So after four or five years of trying to find a suitable hall to produce this in, we found it and that was the key. Match that logistical light bulb going off with the fact that New York City really loves BBQ, along with the resurgence of brown liquors in the cocktail world, the rise of craft brews, and voila. The perfect storm.
LocalBozo.com: How many people do you anticipate will be attending?
GN: The show sells out and we see about 6,000 people each year, 3,000 per session.
LocalBozo.com: By what means were the New York City based businesses selected for showing off their BBQ or spirits?
GN: We’ve spent the past six months talking with different BBQ, beer, and bourbon folks to see if they want to participate. In some cases they come and join us and in others, we just want to serve. It’s a mixture.
LocalBozo.com: For festival goers who choose to attend both events, what will they be able to do between the Bacon Bash and the Whole Hog Session?
GN: These are our Grand Poobah patrons. We will whisk them away to the tasting theater and we will bombard their livers and stomachs with a tasting to end all tastings. Brisket, a whole hog, 23 year old Pappy Van Winkle, and everything in between. Get out your red cups!
LocalBozo.com: Is there going to be a certain order or flow for guests so large lines do not build up?
GN: We don’t like lines and you can be assured we fight to make sure we don’t have any. We have tables all throughout the facility so there are tastes everywhere, in every corner! Last year, we had a little bit of a line for the evening session for BBQ and this year we have moved stations around to alleviate this problem. Plus we have ample distribution points for the amount of people at the show. With our limited capacity, we can control what could easily be a mess.
LocalBozo.com: Will there be a dining area, and where will it be set up?
GN: There are tables and cocktail rounds throughout the show for people to sit and/or stand and relax.
LocalBozo.com: Will any of the demonstrations feature any hands on activities?
GN: See the website. Overall, we have a pig butchering demo and demos from master distillers from all over the country. Our content is fun and full of more tastes.
LocalBozo.com: Are there any other surprises in store for guests?
GN: Three words- Bacon. Eating. Contest. Good luck.
LocalBozo.com: Are Anything else you’d like to add for the readers of LocalBozo.com?
GN: Brew it. Taste it. Sip it. Pork it.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. For more information on the Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival including event sessions, tickets, and other stops on the Festival’s tour, check out BeerandBourbon.com. And hey, save some ‘cue for us!
- Jane Van Arsdale