Monday, October 13, 2014

Selling Beef Jerky at Oktoberfest Costa Rica 2014

We sell beef jerky to Costa Ricans and anyone else in Costa Rica who will buy it. Here, it is called carne seca, but being from Texas, we do not like the idea of just dried meat, we prefer to call it Texas Beef Jerky Hecho en Costa Rica slow smoked with coffee wood in 3 flavors. Try saying that 6,000 times in Spanish. Guess what, we did:) 95% of the patrons at this years Oktoberfest Costa Rica 2014 were local Costa Ricans "Ticos"; which only a few have ever tasted beef jerky before even though many of them spoke perfect English. The Ticos who had been to the United States ran up to buy multiple bags without even needing samples or muestras. Those whom jerky had never touched their mouths were hooked after sampling our meat and eager to embrace the amazing food experience they just immensely enjoyed. How was it made? What was our process? Where can we buy this? Donde Comprar? Those were the questions that filled our happy ears all day long. We are introducing a product to a culture that has never experienced it before and finding it extremely fulfilling. 

As far as Oktoberfest goes, man, Costa Rica knows how to put on a party! The promoter, Nushark Media ensured all the major beer manufacturers participated, the finest local microbreweries, and topped it all off with the best local music Costa Rica has to offer. In my view, La Bodega de Chema had the best variety of microbrews serving nearly 25 taps, all of which pair perfectly with beef jerky. La Bodega de Chema and Erdinger Weisbrau beers shared a superb location at the entrance next to us making us the first stop for the long line of patrons waiting outside eager to gain entrance. 

The majors, like Coors were impressive, as expected with lights, flatscreens and Coors Girls. We decided to bring our shiny, stainless steel, mobile competition smoker that Matt and his father built 25 years ago as a showpiece to draw the crowd to our awesome jerky and our mouthwatering Texas BBQ pulled pork sandwich. Though the major vendors were impressive, our smoker was quite the attraction because, again, Texas style cooking is all new to Costa Rica. 

The pulled pork sandwiches were gone by 5:00 with 8 hours left to go! We could kick ourselves for not smoking 2 dozen pork shoulders rather than the 6 we brought. We dressed the luscious meat with traditional purple onions, pickles and Matt's famous homemade BBQ sauce. So with only jerky left to sell, the packages flew across the table soaking up the yummy brew. Our Spanish speaking staff helped us by working the crowd, educating and offering samples to the mostly Tico patrons. 

The live music kept the sardine packed crowd moving and we were bombarded by several huge rushes of patrons during each band break. The event opened with a solid classic rock band, and continued with Costa Rica headliners like Kurt Duyer, Las TortugasCocofunka, among many others. With the Pedregal Stadium reaching capacity, the outside areas were filled with people taking in the cool Costa Rican night breezes. The night ended as most beer fests end, with folks out of money, full of beer, sneaking samples in hopes it would straighten out their stagger. We knew the night was a huge success for Carne Rico Jerky as we watched our empty wrappers sporting our logo float to the floor among the empty beer cans and other remnants of a great party. We plan to be at Oktoberfest 2015 with double the jerky and double the sandwiches. Pura Vida!

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