You may have seen it making the rounds at FBG Fest or Brewer’s Ball this year. You’ve probably seen it pop up on our Instagram stories and various social media posts. And like many others, you’ve probably asked the question: what’s the deal with the pineapple?
Five years ago, we were about an hour away from starting our annual fall festival (Halfway There). I received a text from long-term and former board member Tom Barris: “I’m on my way, do you need anything?” But we were set up and all ready to go. I did not, in fact, need anything. So I thought of the first random thing that came to mind.
“I need a pineapple.”
“Like sliced pineapples?”
“No, I need a pineapple.”
30 minutes later, he arrives with the most impractical thing anyone could possibly need at a beer fest. It was a beautifully ripe whole pineapple in all its glory. We took a few pictures with it, and had this idea to pass it around the fest to get people’s reactions, but it just never came to fruition. Naturally it was busy, and we just never got to it that day. But the idea never left.
Fast forward to the next Tampa Bay Beer Week and that became the signal to the team that all was well. By the time we had gone through our list of needs and emergency last minute necessities, if I asked for a pineapple that meant all was well with the world. So whether it was seen by the public or not, for the last five years there’s been a pineapple at every Tampa Bay Beer Week-hosted festival.
In 2020, we went online with Virtually Halfway There, our two hour live event in lieu of an in-person festival. We brought together those incredible collaboration beers in a really well-priced six pack and had the brewers talk about life during the crisis. The pineapple was there.
2022 was our 10th anniversary of Tampa Bay Beer Week. It was a recovery year. People came out to festivals for the first time in years. We knew it would feel fantastic to be out among our friends once again. And in keeping with the long legacy of the pineapple as an image of hospitality, this year we began presenting the glorious fruit to the hosts of the events we were invited to participate in. Of course we brought one to 7venth Sun that Friday night for The Ultimate Brew. We handed one to Sean Nordquist at the Florida Brewer’s Guild Festival that Saturday. Jason Toft received one at Brewer’s Ball that Sunday. And at each of these events, and many more throughout the week, we passed the pineapple and had people pose for photos with it. Most found it funny and laughed with us, but some wondered what the hell we were doing. And some probably always will. But if this glorious fruit brings a smile to people’s faces then we will continue the tradition.
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