A couple of weeks ago I posted a countdown clock on the Portsmouth Brewery’s Brewers Notes Page, marking time till next year’s Kate Day: Monday, March 1. Since then, I’ve read a good deal of commentary on Beer Advocate and elsewhere, so I thought I’d take a few minutes and provide some additional details.
Here at the Brewery, thinking about last Kate Day, we concluded that the biggest matter we needed to address was the long line and hours-long wait that many people had to endure.
When we opened our doors at eleven-thirty that day, the restaurant immediately filled to capacity (about 300 people, give or take), and there was no turnover due to the fact that those who had gotten seats remained there till after Kate was tapped at 1:14. Of course, this meant that anyone who had not entered our doors in the first wave was forced to stand in line until seats in the restaurant began opening up, hours later.
How can we address this, we asked ourselves? The most obvious thing is to move the tapping time closer to when we open our doors, so people are not required to wait (inside or outside) for hours. That was an easy decision: we’ve set the tapping for 11:37 am, shortly after we “officially”open for business. People will be able to stop in, enjoy a Kate and a bite to eat, and get on with their days. Tables will turn over more rapidly, and there will be less of a wait outside. We hope.
Moreover, after, giving it further thought, we concluded that Kate Day consists of not one but two related activities: the celebration & socializing surrounding the actual tapping, and the purchase of bottles. Why did they have to take place simultaneously, we asked? Would things run smoother if we took care of bottle sales first thing in the morning, hours before the tapping? We think they will.
So, in short, here is how Kate Day will shape up next March 1.
1.) Bottle sales will commence at 9:00 AM and will be conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. We will start to issue calendar pages at seven in the morning, to reduce the amount of time people have to wait in line. Bottle sales will be conducted in our downstairs bar, but no drinks will be served there during this time. Once bottles are purchased, people will be asked to go outside so we can clear the room prior to tapping.
2.) The tapping itself will take place at 11:37 AM, in both our upstairs and downstairs bars. We’ll open our doors a bit earlier than usual, eleven instead of eleven-thirty, to give everyone a chance to settle in.
We’re confident that these changes will help make the next Kate Day more enjoyable for all. As always, we welcome your feedback.
By the way, regarding rumors of larger batches of Kate being brewed at Smuttynose …