[Note: Planning for Maovember 2016 is well under way. Lots of details here.]
By Jim Boyce | Maovember is many things to many people. For me, it’s a long roller coaster ride that includes the lows of rushing to publicize events, worrying about turnout and covering for people at the last minute and the highs of backing a worthy cause, seeing guests have fun, and teaming with creative and committed partners. The highs thankfully easily dominate the lows.
Below I’ve listed five personal moments from last year that make me believe in this project. There are lots more I could cite, from pub quizzes to pool, beer pong, poker and corn toss tournaments to wine and beer events, so expect more “top fives” soon. And I’m sure other people can list their favorite memories, too.
Finally, those who organize Maovember are lucky to have so many people in the food and drink industry willing to do events and so many consumers willing to support those efforts with donations.
Chinese and French wines tasted blind to raise money for cataract surgeries and, in turn, give people sight. Nice event, Tristan and Justin! It was fun to see people guess what wine hailed from what nation. Bonus points for the mustache-themed backgrounds and the basket-bola game. (Recap here.)
This is among my favorite Beijing restaurants, so brunch alone made this a worthwhile event. The pouron contest, emceed by chef Aitor, took it to the next level as people performed a series of distance-guzzling challenges with the goal of winning… more wine! Nice touches by Juan and Maria with mustache-shaped cookies at the dessert station and fun promotions. (Recap here.)
LA CAVA DE LAOMA
The “mystery wine party” at La Cava saw a bunch of my favorite distributors sponsor superb bottles that sold for a mere rmb100 each. The catch? Each bottle was gift-wrapped and the label only revealed when bought. The result? People trying and sharing wines and, when finished, buying more. We sold out in an hour. We also held the first “wine flights” paper airplane contest. (Recap here.)
Although a bitterly cold night and hutong location curbed turnout, the Tiki guys deserve full marks for getting into the spirit with a party themed around the classic TV show Magnum P.I. They had everything from a limbo contest to a “get someone lei’d promotion” to 10-kuai rum shots. Bonus points to Maovember supporter Alex for embracing the theme and dressing up as both Zeus and Apollo, the two Dobermans from the show. (Full recap here.)
Someone who embodies the Maovember spirit is manager Paul of Paddy O’Shea’s, who hosted the official closing party last year. Given pollution as nasty as it gets and a weekday slot, we worried about attendance. The mix of road hockey, an open mic night, Two Guys pies, a Jameson pickleback bar and a community that came through in our
darkest smoggiest hour made the event a big success. (Full recap here.)
Look for more 2015 flashbacks here ahead of this year’s Maovember project!