Craft beers are no longer a trend - they are definitely here to stay. Home brewing has become more than a hobby for over one million beer lovers in the U.S. alone. Today, home brewers take their craft beers seriously and home brewing has become a multi-million dollar industry. That’s why planning an event centered around beer has become an increasingly popular event option. Craft beer festivals give brewers a chance to compare notes and sample different brews - and there may be some friendly competition involved as well! If you’re wondering how to run a beer festival, keep reading for our best beer festival ideas.
#1. Pick a Convenient Date
If you’re in charge of organizing a beer festival, your first big decision is choosing the date for the event. You’ll want to plan something that will be convenient for guests and avoid holidays or weekdays. But you’ll also want to choose a date that leaves you plenty of time for planning. To be safe, give yourself at least one to two months in advance time to plan a craft brew festival. That way, your guests will also have lots of time to mark their calendars and RSVP. You also want to leave time for your guest brewers to create their signature craft beers!
#2. Choose Location and Venue
Now that you know when your beer festival will take place, you need to decide where you wish to host the beer event. Fortunately, you will likely find many good options for beer fests nearby. If you live in an area with a mild climate, you can easily plan for an outdoor venue year-round. For those of you in cooler northern climates, you’ll probably want to plan an outdoor event during warmer months. Other considerations for beer fests include the number of guests you plan to invite, whether or not you’ll include vendor trucks, a tasting area, and food service.
#3. Follow All Rules and Regulations
Any time you plan a big event, you need to consider the rules and regulations you must follow. For example, make sure you are aware of all local ordinances and regulations in the city of your event because there is a good chance you’ll need to obtain special permits to legally throw your outdoor event. Other considerations include city ordinances regarding noise, such as loud music or boisterous guests, especially in or near residential areas. If you plan to serve food at the beer event, you’ll probably need to secure a food permit. Most importantly make your check into the rules regarding alcohol permits!
#4. Set Up a Tasting Tent
As any beer festival guide will tell you, the most important part of the event (besides safety, of course) is the tasting tent! Pop-up tents and a perfect option for your sampling area. They are portable, easy to set up and take down, and affordable. They also come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and can even be customized for your event! If you are expecting a large crowd, you may want to set up multiple tasting tents. You could even have different themes for your tasting tents. One tent could include wheat beers or brown ales, while another could feature light lagers and pale ales.
#5. Prepare the Seating Area
When considering how to arrange a beer festival, seating is also a major consideration. This will also help determine what size tent you’ll need, or if you’ll need multiple tents for guests. If you plan on a buffet-style food or beverage service, you will need to have enough room for setting out drinks and snacks for a crowd. Plus, don’t forget the extra space you may need for a DJ booth, dance floor, vendor space, and if you are planning a brewing contest, a table for award ribbons and trophies. For guest areas, clear top tents are also a good option.
#6. Pick Brewers Carefully
When choosing brewers for your event, be inclusive! Veteran brewers can lend wisdom to newbie brewers, while a younger generation of brewers may have new tips and tricks to share. You’ll also want to be sure to have a variety of different brews for guests to sample. Don’t be afraid to ask your brewers for suggestions on how to make the event a success. In addition to brewers, you can also invite vendors who sell brewing equipment so that brewers can browse the latest and greatest industry innovations. Other vendors could sell specialty beer mugs, bottle openers, and other beer-related paraphernalia.
#7. Plan Your Menu
You don’t want your guests imbibing on an empty stomach! Your craft beer festival calls for food more interesting and substantial than just peanuts and pretzels. Plan a menu that will complement a wide variety of brews. According to experts, light lagers pair best with spicy food, burgers, and salads. For India pale ales, plan for steak, barbecue, or Mexican food. Amber ales and dark lagers pair nicely with pizza. And, save your porters and stouts for last since these brews go best with coffee flavor or chocolate desserts. Speaking of coffee, make sure to include non-alcoholic beverages on your menu. Coffee, tea, and lots of water should be available for attendees.
#8. Promote the Event
You’ve chosen the big day, lined up your venue, and have your brew masters selected. Now it’s time to start promoting your beer festival! Begin promotions at least a few weeks in advance so that everyone can mark their calendars and also to build excitement and anticipation for your upcoming craft brew festival. Try to engage local media to promote your event on television, social media, and in newspapers. Chances are that some of your brewers have a good following on social media - after all, who doesn’t want to be friends with a home brewer? Ask them to help spread the word as well.
Planning an artisan craft beer festival takes a little work and a lot of planning, but you do not have to do it alone. Enlist the help of participants and a few volunteers to take some of the pressure off of your shoulders. One thing that you don’t have to worry about is finding the right tents for your event. If you’re planning an outdoor beer fest, we can help you choose a quality tent for your venue. If we don’t have the exact tent you need, we can customize a tent for you! Contact us today to get started.