Thin Man Brewery are doing their part to make Buffalo beer a global entity by proudly carrying the sigil for our beer scene onto the world’s stage at the recent ArtBeerFest in Caminha, Portugal, where they were only one of six North American breweries invited to pour. But that wasn’t all that was on their overseas agenda as the brewery also took part in a once-in-a-lifetime collaborative brew at Colossus Brewing in Porto, Portugal alongside Barrier Brewing Company from Long Island, Seven Island Brewery of Corfu, Greece and MØMBrewers of Portugal, a Double IPA with Centennial and Citra hops, pineapple, passionfruit, toasted coconut & vanilla.
And in case you were wondering, Thin Man poured Burning Money IPA, Minkey Boodle, Activate the Juices and Bliss DIPA at ArtBeerFest.
Thin Man, who have also poured at the Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen in Denmark in both 2018 and 2019, landed on the beer list at ArtBeerFest thanks to Brand Ambassador Mike Shatzel’s friend Kostas Pougatsias, Seven Island Brewery owner, who introduced him to festival promoter Octavio Costa.
“My friend Kostas from Seven Island came to New York City to do some collaborations and I made an intro to Barrier Brewing in Long Island,” Shatzel says. “I made the trek to NYC for the collab and we had a great time hitting Brooklyn up. A few days later, he made the introduction to Octavio. After seeing a few videos of the festival, we quickly agreed to attend.”
ArtBeerFest has sparked something of a culture shift in Portugal’s beer scene, with Costa stating that the fest has led to the opening of a number of breweries across the country. The annual event features beer samplings, brewer shows, curated tastings, vendors, workshops, master classes and labs from around the world.
“ArtBeerFest,” Pougatsias says, “it’s a movement and a state of mind that gets together people from around the world to celebrate beer culture and friendship at one of the most beautiful corners of Portugal!”
“ArtBeerFest,” Costa adds, “since the beginning, has been focused on the idea of broadening the knowledge base and consumer experience in our market. We never had a beer culture in Portugal until [about] 2012 or 2013. The festival was actually a mark in the short history of beer in my country and from that time, we saw dozens of projects multiplying. I can say that 80% of the breweries were born after the experience in Caminha. ArtBeerFest offers something for each drinker, something new for a beer geek and, the most important thing; it has been doing the job for the breweries and consumers at the same time.”
Costa says that he knew he had to have Thin Man at ArtBeerFest this year after a chance encounter with a few cans of Minkey Boodle.
“We are lucky to belong to an awesome global beer network,” he says. “Joining people around the world to have intense days of friendship, community and fun. The handsome mates at Greek brewery Seven Island, who we invited last year, introduced Thin Man to me. It’s a chain reaction. We believe in friendship. If our common friends made those introductions, it’s done. Last February I was traveling for some collab brew days in Chicago and New York, and by coincidence I had some cans of Minkey Boodle with a mate during my last day in NY. Finally there, I knew we just made the right choice once again by listening to a friend’s advice on them.”
“We do all this, each in his own way, for the love of beer and the craft beer community!” Pougatsias adds. “Traveling and meeting new people in some amazing festivals around the world, it’s all about making your family bigger and your experiences more enjoyable while you spread the idea and culture of beer craft. I consider both Octavio and Mike my fellow warriors, fighting side-by-side as crusaders against the evil spirit of cheaper, no-good industrial beer in a global effort as we try to make a better future for the next generations. I am so glad to be part of this big family and I wouldn’t be if I didn’t meet guys like Octavio & Mike. That’s changed my life completely!”
Thin Man’s inclusion at ArtBeerFest 2019 could lead to more invitations being sent to American breweries in the years to come, because, as Costa puts it, the European beer scene is attracted by American beer.
“I do think that more US breweries will take part in the festival,” Costa says, “I’m really sure of that. Europe is a business destination. The festival is a great door to knock on, not just for the Portuguese market, but the European one as well. Apart of that, our strategy aims to be visible as a great festival in the US. We’re attracted by US beers. We’re more open to tasting and to new experiences. US beers have that hype for us. We see it as an argument to help grow and upgrade the beer culture in Europe.”
Shatzel adds that Thin Man’s appearance at events like ArtBeerFest in Portugal and MBCC in Denmark introduces Buffalo beer to consumers and to markets that would otherwise have no way of having access to it.
“I think Thin Man being at such respected festivals such as ArtBeerFest and at MBCC for Copenhagen Beer Week for the last two years gets Buffalo’s name out to such a wide audience that’s difficult to achieve through traditional methods,” Shatzel adds. “It establishes a name to the Buffalo beer scene to places where they would never have made an association otherwise.”
Thin Man spreading the good word of Buffalo beer to the global masses is far from over as the brewery has also been invited to pour at 8×8 Brewing Project Festival in Beijing, China in October and another festival in Poland at the end of November. Stay tuned for more information on those.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column for Step Out Buffalo. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague) and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).