Joanne Marino’s first year as executive director of the San Francisco Brewers Guild surely isn’t shaping up to be a dull one.
In addition to building on the previous SF Beer Week’s 797 events across 288 locations, Marino will have the 2016 Super Bowl to align with this time around. “We’re really excited in a way because we’ll actually be doing some creative things around the idea that football will be so predominant in the area during that time period,” she says. “So we’ve got some exciting announcements coming up around that.”
Unlike its typical February date, SF Beer Week climbed the calendar to January 22-31 to avoid clashing with the NFL’s premiere showcase, which will take place February 7 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Marino arrives in San Francisco with plenty of experience. She was the co-founder and co-producer of Austin Beer Week since 2010, and co-producer of the Texas Craft Brewers Festival since 2012. Still, she admits this is going to be a unique challenge. The scale alone is exciting, if not a little daunting. The last Austin Beer Week capped around 200 events. “The size of the Bay Area, the size of the community, means there’s a lot more activities going on,” Marino explains. “For me personally, that’s one of the clearest adjustments—just the scale of San Francisco Beer Week compared to Austin. I’m very familiar with the structure and very familiar with what’s involved to do successful events. I think it’s a really good fit here and I’m really excited to be working with the brewers. They’re a great bunch and I’m just thrilled to have the opportunity.”
Last year’s opening gala at the SF Beer Week had more than 2,500 participants. She says the goal is to feature more than 100 breweries in the 2016 edition. “We expect to keep growing,” she says.
“One of the things that’s really awesome about craft beer overall is that there’s so much variation, whether you’re talking about beer styles or you’re talking about types of events. There’s really something for everybody,” Marino says. “There might be some people that are really into beer and food pairings, there might be somebody that’s totally into sour beers right now or someone who is seeking out the rare imperial stouts. So I think one of the really fun things that’s always been the case with beer weeks, it allows people to pursue what they’re passionate about and have a lot of options in front of them to really kind of dig deeper into what’s appealing to them in that moment in time.”