Looking to plug herself back into York's social scene, Meagan Feeser scoured Twitter for signs of life.
She found promise in a group that tweeted under the hashtag #ThinkDrink.
Ready to make the leap from social media to social event, Feeser ventured out on a Monday night to meet the folks behind the hashtag. What she found was a group of people passionate about two things: downtown York and the beverages served there.
What began as a "meeting of the minds" has evolved into a monthly social gathering that gives participants a unique experience and supplies down-
town businesses with an immediate influx of cash and feedback.
Three years later, Think Drink is still going strong.
Next week, the group will invade YorKitchen in Central Market for a beer sampling hosted by Round Guys Brewing Co. The Lansdale-based brewery's beers will soon be on tap in several York bars.
The event will begin at 7 p.m. Monday. Anyone is welcome. There's no cost to attend.
New promoter: Monday's event is the first to be officially promoted by Ace Distributing, also known as The Beer Ace. The company is taking over for Gavin Advertising, whose owner, Mandy Arnold, started Think Drink in 2010.
Soon after discovering Think Drink, Feeser said, she began helping Arnold plan the monthly meet-ups.
She recalled June 2011, when Liquid Hero and Mudhook breweries opened their tap rooms to a sneak preview for Think Drink. More people than ever before -- about 70 -- came out, Feeser said.
The Holy Hound, a downtown bar that serves only microbrews, did the same thing before it opened.
"It was to give us a preview and to get people's suggestions for what they wanted to see," Feeser said. "People started using it almost as a focus group."
Think Drink organizers realized the most successful events always lived up to their names.
Soon, soap-making demonstrations included beer samplings. Cupcake tastings had to be paired with beer.
Some Think Drink months have been promoted as "cash mobs" -- designed specifically to infuse the host business with cash.
The craft beer appeal: "It's not just about bars. It's about downtown businesses in general," Feeser said. "While drinking obviously plays a part of it, it's not just about drinking.
But, Arnold and Feeser realized they also had to give the people what they want.
"Any time we did anything with beer -- and with craft beers specifically -- we had our largest turnouts," Feeser said.
Feeser said Gavin Advertising is passing the torch to The Beer Ace in hopes that the regional distributor can take Think Drink to the next level.
"It was born in York, but it's going to grow," she said.
-- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.