Posted on 23 April 2013.
The preparations for one of the most awesome beer event in Europe, or even the world, started many months ago.
With just a few weeks left, things are really coming together. We think. And hope. Appearance is everything, some wise person told me many years back. Maybe we cannot see the panic behind the scenes right now? Who cares anyway, if Copenhagen Beer Celebration is even half as amazing as it was last year – this is gonna be absolutely ace.
We were interested in what actually build up such a great and huge event and we thought you would as well so we opened up a few beers together with the very sympathetic project manager Ivan Kiss-Prinzip Jensen and sat down for a chat.
Ivan is gazing at a beer. We think
MankerBeer (MB): Hi Ivan Kiss-Prinzip Jensen, Project Manager for Copenhagen Beer Celebration 2013. Hope all is well with all the preparations for the coolest beer festival in Europe!
We wanna talk to you a little about all the work being carried out behind the scenes for such a massive event like this. But lets start with who the heck you are, so who ARE you and what did you do before this?
Ivan KPJ (IKPJ): I work part time on CBC and I still have my job a teacher. I teach cooking and gardening on a school for youngsters with needs for special attention and have a long history of working in the restaurant business.
I was part of the start up at Nørrebro Bryghus (Anders Kissmeyer, now at Kissmeyer Beers) back in 2003 and worked there for nearly 4 years. I was a bit older than the rest of the waitors and got to teach the rest of the staff about food and beer pairings. Soon I worked as Beer Ambassador, making things like the “Brewers Table” and doing a lot, a lot of tastings and representation of the brewpub.
Also I was in charge of buying bottled beer for NB and I think it was in this work, I first met up with brewers like Mikkel and Keller from Mikkeller, CSA (Christian Skovdal Andersen, Ølfabrikken), Jakob (Amager Bryghus); people like that. Then I moved out of Copenhagen, but still have had close relations with beer raters, brewers etc.; following up on the beer scene from my rural home. I write a blog on food politics, mainly because there are so much bad food out there and so little knowledge.
Of course, I also write about beer here and now, and I was very critical at the beer scene in Denmark, being so big and yet with such a low quality of the products.
I volunteered when needed for Mikkeller amongst other beerfolks, but just feel most at home with this crew of total devotion towards both quality but also at innovation. I myself can´t repeat anything more that once, without being totally bored; I find Mikkeller to work the same way, always on the move.
MB: You are getting some of the world’s top breweries to Copenhagen which we all think is absolutely amazing, what is the whole idea behind this event and where did it start?
IKPJ: The idea of CBC is to make it possible for the guests not to seek for the good beers at a beer event; at CBC you just reach out to the nearest tap and you will get the best beer in the world. In every booth, in every tapline; only the best. For the breweries, CBC aim to be a yearly gettogether, a possibility to meet up and exchange work with other breweries in that high league, that they all are. It is no big secret that the idea for CBC was partly founded when Mikkeller attended “the other festival” here in Denmark and we got fed up with all the crab commercials, crap music, crab beer; just the whole circus surrounding the event, having nothing to do with beer. We keep everything, but the beer – at a minimum.
We want to put the beer as our first, second and third priority.
MB: Last year, project manager Irina Carlén ran the whole thing and she got just a few months to prepare the whole shabang. When and where did you start the work with CBC? Tell us about the process!
IKPJ: I myself started working on CBC in September 2012, getting as much material from the CBC 2012 gathered and sorted out. CBC was made so fast and so much stuff where improvised, so getting an overview and things talked through, was number one. Then getting things out, that CBC 2013 would actually happen, taking volunteers in, contacting the breweries we had thought about; getting people fired up and exited for this. Making the few, but important changes, while keeping the spirit, has really been one of my main concerns, making CBC 2013. A success as it was, it will be harder and therefor even more fun to make the sequel.We might be better in shape time wise, but this is beer and beer people, there will be many hours on coordinating up until the minut before opening the doors in May.
MB: What will be the major changes in the CBC setup this year compared to 2012?
IKPJ: One major change is that we do it again; that was not the intention. Then there are logistical stuff, there will be water rinsing facilities and better toilets. We will have food vendors selling food, instead of the grand seating from CBC 2012. There will not be a printed program, but an updated list, handed the guests on arrival. We might also be working on an app to be ready for the show… We don´t find that any of the changes are major; if it ain´t broke don´t try to fix it, right?
MB: Let us in on the secrets, there has got to be a few drawbacks in the planning/things going straight to hell – have there been and what where they?
IKPJ: I really, really wanted to have an online program, where we could post everything going on; what beers are on right now, what beers has run out, the surprises, beers not making it after all; all the stuff that a printed program can´t do. That didn’t happen, and I really regret it, but the venue did not have efficient wifi and was not able to meet the demands needed.
Another thing is letting breweries go after announcing them in the first place, either by their own choice or because they didn´t meet our requests for number of beers, the request of having the brewers them self attending; things that we find only help in profiling both the breweries, importers/distributors, retailers and CBC.
I find that these deditcated brewers, also tend to take their business very personal and they can take requests or demands pretty damn close in. It´s business, never personal, to me, some people really need to learn that difference.
MB: What requirements does CBC have on breweries that want to attend in order to pass as suitable for CBC?
IKPJ: I don´t think that is a big secret that CBC is Mikkels idea and that it is people that he has worked with or know personally, who are attending CBC. A man of his talents know a lot of people, so we invite, we don´t wait for breweries to apply. That said, we also want CBC to be a place for the guests to find new stuff, the odd beers, the up and coming. That part is more tricky to work out and we can always improve in this area.
MB: When the breweries have passed your approval to attend, what are your requirements at the actual festival?
IKPJ: They most bring their most outrages beers, we take experiments and one offs, before the brews made for a broader audience. We ask for as many new releases as possible and we need them bring at least 9 different beers in total for CBC 2013. Another key point is to have people who are actually involved in the brewing, the innovation, the reason the brewery is at this level of brewing. We don´t want the usual kind, but not-knowing guys, girls in short dresses just pouring beer at CBC; we want dedication.
MB: Everyone having the good taste to get their hands on a pink session bracelet (All sessions included) are quite excited to know what will happen in the paus on saturday, any chance you could give us a teaser?
IKPJ: It will be loud. And there will be beer.
MB: We have gotten the question numerous times so lets ask the man n charge: will there be WiFi available in the Spartahallen
IKPJ: There will be wifi, as we had it in 2012, with the problems that made, it´s not top of the line. But, a lot of people have better phones, better connection than a year ago, I´m told.
MB: We love everyone coming to CBC, but you gotta have some favorites amongst the breweries, can you tell us about that?
IKPJ: My favorites are the ones I don´t know; and there a few breweries that I haven´t tasted any beers from; Mountain Goat, Baird, even Surley. I really like when the brewers experiment, so the ones with mot fucked up ideas; I´m your man.
I did hunt Kuhnenns Raspberry Eisbock for a few years, so having them in, will be interesting. And Lervig. I have a feeling with Lervig, it is just my intuition, not something I’m hiding
Happy Ivan At Mikkeller Bar Stefansgade
MB: What is the absolute dream guest brewery at CBC?
IKPJ: My personal? That aren’t coming this year? That would be Hill Farmstead. And yes I liked their beers and attitude before everyone else did, ´cause I´m so cutting edge I split my tongue some times
MB: Can you name 3 breweries and 3 beers that you absolutely CANNOT miss at CBC?
IKPJ:I can´t, but off my head, where I am right now; it would be Siren, Stillwater and Firestone Walker. I´ll take 3 of any of their beers right now.
MB: With a festival pouring almost 1300 litres of some of the best beers in the world, there’s gotta be an after party like nowhere else seen in Scandinavia, where you reckon the after parties will be held on Saturday?
IKPJ: I will close CBC, send people of to “Mikkeller and Friends” or “Mikkeller Bar”, urging them to have a blast there. (Or, I know few underground places with pierced girls, if you´re interested) Then I will turn around and look at 30+ of the best brewers in the world and shout, “Let´s get shit faced”.
MB: CBC starts at the 2nd of May, but your work will probably not end until a week afterwards. How do you ‘close’ such a project? Kicking back with your favorite beer?
IKPJ: I will go on a small vacation to Lübeck in Germany with my family, celebrating my 40th birthday. At one point down there, sitting with some mediocregerman brew, watching my kids fighting over the toys and my wife smiling at me; at that point I will know if we did it allright at CBC 2013. I both fear and look forward to that moment.
MB: Ivan, thanks for the beer, thanks for your time – don’t sit there and enjoy it too much, get Copenhagen Beer Celebration going!