How to Plan Your Own Beer Festival [CHECKLIST]

beer festival

So you want to host your own beer festival? It sounds like a great idea — what could be easier than getting a bunch of people together to try some good beer?! We joke. Planning a successful beer fest requires a massive amount of preparation. That’s why companies like BrewFest Success are popping up as professional beer festival planners for hire. If you want to plan your own beer festival, however, don’t think it can’t be done! You just need to make sure you don’t miss a few crucial steps in the planning process. Here are some things to keep in mind to plan your own amazing beer festival.

1. Go By The Book

Obtain the necessary permits or risk getting shut down the day of the event. Before you get too ahead of yourself, check into every detail of your event and make sure you are following all city rules and regulations to a T. Ensure that you have all the required permits to put on an event of this size and distribute alcohol. This is just as important to you as it is to the breweries. Rebekah Mutch, sales coordinator for Stone Brewing Company (an Evergreen customer) knows that many festival planners fail to properly address this important part of the process, recalling “I’ve ended up explaining the legalities to organizers, and it’s especially hard when it’s their first time.” Stone is known for being extra cautious about what festivals they participate in, and for good reason- it’s the breweries who are liable for fines when they participate in events that aren’t licensed and run properly. So make sure you don’t lose the breweries you want at your festival by being an irresponsible planner.

2. Location, Location, Location

Picking the perfect location for your beer festival is crucial. Most importantly, you have to make sure the venue is large enough to hold the amount of guests and breweries you are expecting. For summer festivals, something outdoors is ideal. You can’t beat enjoying some quality beer outside on a beautiful day. So try getting the permits for a nice park, a local stadium, a concert venue, or even just the big parking lot behind your brewery.


3. More Than Just Beer

It goes without saying that to put on a beer festival you are going to need beer. But not just any beer — good beer. Local nano-breweries who will bring their new, rare offerings will be a bigger hit than the macro-breweries. These craft breweries will also bring with them a strong and loyal following of beer lovers. But a solid spread of good beer is not all you need. Get food vendors to serve up their tasty fare as well. Trust us, you want your festival-goers to be consuming something other than just beer the entire day. Food trucks are a great, easy and not to mention trendy, way to offer a great selection of food at your festival.

4. Other Important Party Guests

Hiring entertainment at your event will give festival goers something to do in between tastings so they aren’t stuck in that “all-out-sprint-mentality” to sample every beer within the 4 hour time-frame. Having some entertainment, like a local band, will give them something to break their day up. Check out the webinar for more ideas on great events for a craft beer crowd.

5. Ready, Set, Promote!

The last piece of the puzzle… getting people to buy tickets and come! Advertising your festival is the most pivotal part of the planning process. Promote it at any bars, breweries, and restaurants that you possibly can- anywhere beer connoisseurs may be. Tap into local media outlets who will happily promote the local breweries that will be at your festival. And lastly, don’t forget to use social media to promote your event! Word of mouth is how beer lovers learn the next place they must be on the beer circuit.


6. Hope For The Best, Plan For The Worst

Don’t forget to cover all your bases. What will inevitably come with an all-you-can-drink beer tasting event? Drunk people. What should you do? Read our tips for handling intoxicated patrons and hire security. Taking care of this will ensure that all your festival goers are safe and nobody’s day is ruined. You will also need to distribute lots of water, especially at hot summer festivals. Make sure water distribution tents are easy to find and access so that guests don’t have to go out of their way to get some much needed H2O. Stock up on this liquid gold so you don’t run out when parched festival-goers are in need. This is one of the most frequently forgotten, yet crucial components of a successful festival.

Final Thoughts

No amount of exhaustive planning can account for the wrath of mother nature. Check the weather forecast so you know what to expect. Also, make sure you know how many people you can physically support, and sell that many tickets. You don’t want a mob of angry beer enthusiasts breaking down the festival gates because they can’t get into your oversold event. Last but not least… you can never, I repeat never, have enough porta-potties.


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