Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fancy Food Show—Here I Go

My interests in international commerce and beer come together this weekend as I arrive to balmy San Francisco for the 35th Winter Fancy Food Show, where I’ll be volunteering at Booth 2415 for the fine folks of the Brewers Association.

The association’s Export Development Program, which generates publicity for the US craft beer industry and assists its affiliate brands in gaining attention and distribution in selected markets, will be coordinating the events at our booth.

Ten big-name craft brewers will be displaying their artisan-style ales and lagers. I’ll be serving and tasting them all over the next few days. Here’s the lineup:

21st Amendment Brewery
Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Boston Beer Co.
Brewery Ommegang
Dogfish Head Craft Brewing Co.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Kona Brewing Co.
Lagunitas Brewing Co.
Rogue Ales
Stone Brewing Co.

To say that I’ve worked with Dogfish and Stone, both brands which I can buy in Texas, will be damn cool. But I’m particularly pumped to meet the representatives at 21st Amendment. From San Francisco, the hometown boys are fairly new on the beer scene. I’m intrigued by their can-format packaging and watermelon-flavored beer. Firestone Walker, of Paso Robles, California, has my attention too.

I’ve never been to this festival, so I’m not sure what to expect. On the show’s website, I note how vast it really is, both in its size and number of exhibitors. Thousands of vendors will be on hand, representing every corner of the “fancy” food world—from grass-fed beef to olive oil and yogurt, it will all be there.

An online contest (“Can You Spot the Next Food Trend?”) to predict the top five food trends that will emerge from the event caught my eye, appealing to my trend-spotting instinct. Willing to win, I go for it, entering my top five:

• Açaí
• Coconut Water
• Kombucha
• Raw Honey
• Yerba Maté

The two previous show’s winners were:

Summer 2009
• Blood orange
• Chocolate and salt
• Superfruits
• Gluten-free
• Eco awareness

Winter 2009
• Single-Serve Portions
• Fruity Additions
• Organic
• Sensitivity to Dietary Needs
• Exotic Spice Blends

While this event for me is mainly about the beer—the good kind, with benefits of its own—perhaps I'll learn of new, healthy ingredients to mix into smoothies on future mornings in Cherryhurst. (See ‘Smoothie Operator’ post last year.)


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