An alternative model; conversely, let’s just drink some good beer and let it go.

Karaoke by Li’l Stevie at Exclusively New Albany, 2012

I posed the question earlier last week.

NABC and Exclusively New Albany: What would YOU do?

Exclusively New Albany is a “signature” event, meaning that only those businesses paying dues as members of DNA have the right to vend for cash (as would be the case with full pours of craft beer from NABC). All others are invited to participate as samples-only delegates, and donate product.

I’ve been thinking about this. The point isn’t about the relative pittance that a vendor might earn from such a gig. It’s about conceptual consistency of the sort so elusive here in New Albany.

Develop New Albany’s rule (whether or not the rule actually exists on paper anywhere, which is doubtful) is that only those entities with a paid membership in DNA can vend for profit at a DNA signature event.

To join DNA for just one event would cost $250 dollars. The only event that DNA even stages during the course of the year, as structured to provide any semblance of a vending opportunity, is Exclusively New Albany, and so in essence, there is a $250 fee to vend at this solitary event.

(Another obvious question: DNA runs the Farmers Market, where few of the weekly vendors are members of DNA; where there is no requirement to be a member; and where the fee for weekly vending is far less. How then does the Farmers Market fit into this equation?)

My original proposal to DNA was to allow us to sell full pours of NABC beers at Exclusively New Albany, rather than pour small gratis samples, given that the vast majority of event attendees who like our beers are drinking full pours of them regularly, anyway, and would prefer to do so at DNA’s event rather than cans of Bud Light or Heineken — neither of which fit into anyone’s conception of localism, a doctrine that DNA purportedly seeks to expound (for example) at the Farmers Market … and what does “exclusively New Albany” mean if not emphasizing items and ideas unique to here, as opposed to emanating from Leuven or Amsterdam?

But I digress.

My pouring proposal is to allow NABC to “pay to play,” though not by imposing a yearly membership fee on the vendor, up front. Rather, I’d bring kegs, pour beers and share a percentage of the after-cost proceeds with DNA. Depending on the amount of beer sold, the return to DNA conceivable would be more than the flat $250 fee. Probably not, but the point is that such a model would encourage vendors like me to push some product, make some money for themselves, and provide consideration to the sponsoring organization to wet its beak, all at the same time. You know, rather like capitalism is supposed to work.

Look, I know DNA won’t entertain my suggestion, and furthermore, I understand that the whole event vending “rule” scheme is constructed to be a sweetheart deal for a friend of the non-transparent former regime, which still holds sway in spite of the welcome change in leadership. At the end of the day, it just isn’t very beneficial of me to give samples of beer away at a venue where most of the folks in attendance already know the product line. Besides that, craft beer brewers are trying to move away from non-remunerative sample models like that of Exclusively New Albany.

Our friend who lives right next door to the Exclusively New Albany venue has been gracious in offering the use of her yard on the night of the DNA event. My inclination at the moment, if she’s still willing, is to set up a keg there on June 20, and have our own little party. Think of the clever Poorcastle Festival.

The beer and food will be on me. If you’ll be attending Exclusively New Albany, just stop by and have a good local beer before or after. It sounds like an equitable compromise to me, with no money changing hands, and it will make the mass-market swill at the event go down far easier. We’ll be talking about two-way streets, housing rehabs and Houndmouth.

Stay tuned for further details.