Taste of Brea – Just Another City’s Food Fest Run by Corporates

Posted: May 21, 2013 in Events, Food, Orange County, Restaurant
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The annual Taste of Brea took over Downtown Brea last Thursday evening. Marketed as a Brew Fest & Community Expo, this all-ages event aimed to showcase the best of Brea’s local businesses in food, drinks, services, and more. For $20, guests received an all-inclusive wristband that allowed unlimited food & drinks, while supplies lasted. Just as many non-food vendors showed up as food vendors, so guests could peruse through all the booths without feeling overwhelmed by all the food available. The organizers claimed that guests may purchase wristbands online to save the wait in line; however, they never put a link up, and the website never had such a link, despite their claim that the link existed. Unfortunately, anything else good about this event ends here.

For ANY “Taste of” event that highlights the local area, the event’s focus should revolve around the local businesses, not corporate businesses. Guests visiting a city may come from out of town, and thus may not know the food around the area, so the fest should feature only the local eateries. For example, if a Californian traveled to a “Taste of New York” to sample the local flavor, that Californian has absolutely no reason to go to a Cheesecake Factory or T.G.I. Friday’s booth at that event. So for any event that markets themselves as a “Taste of ______,” why invite corporate businesses? These businesses sell the same products everywhere else. I hardly see how they represent the local flavor. We have seen this happen last year, and recently it happened again, though to a lesser extent than the former. When corporates constitute more than half of the vendors present, we cannot accurately call it the “Taste of Brea” when it should fly under the name “Taste of Corporates in Brea.”

Also, why did they call this a Brew Fest? Only four breweries showed up to sample beer: Yard House, Bootlegger’s, Taps, and JT Schmid’s. All four ended up scattered throughout the area too. Of the four, only Yard House could pour up to 16oz servings, while the others only had small 2oz cups.

For the price, sure you get what you pay for, but do you honestly value quantity over quality? The fests that get it right only invite local non-corporates, good ones at that. For example, the folks in Mission Valley got it perfect with their food & beer fest. Food fests come and go, with another major one coming up at the end of June, albeit it did not leave the best impression last year. If you want to attend a food fest that showcases the local places, always research the list of participants first. If the organizer does not list participants, then you must ask, for if you do not ask, they make stock only corporates!


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