Suwanee Beer Fest tickets go on sale today. That's welcome news if you've had the pleasure of attending this event the past two years. You can order tickets directly through their website by CLICKING HERE. The date for the event is Saturday March 16th. So mark your calendars carefully.
To gear up for the festival, Suwanee Beer Fest's MK Laird was kind enough to answer some questions for us about how the event is organized and what we can expect. The Q&A is below the logo. So go grab a pint and read on. Good stuff!
BlogOnDraft: How long does it take to plan a successful beer festival?
MK Laird: It's a year round venture. We're always trying new beers. Networking with different vendors and brewery reps, going to other beer festivals & breweries. Looking for ways to ensure an awesome experience and set the Suwanee Beer Fest apart from other festivals.
BOD: How has the rise in popularity of craft beer changed the scope of the festival?
MK: For one, it has made the planning process even more exciting. Being one of the first festivals of the year and in March, there are a large number of new beers being released that we are able to have available at the beer fest. Sharing news of the up and coming breweries has become a passion. The popularity and interest in the Suwanee Beer Fest has continued to grow along with the popularity in craft beer, so it has been great!
BOD: Tell us a little bit about the amount of manpower that goes into organizing, planning and pulling this thing off.
MK: Well, as you would imagine, putting the fest on is a full time job. We are a marketing firm and also publish Suwanee Magazine on top of the Suwanee Beer Fest. It works well because we are well versed in handling the promotional end of things. So while we are working on the website, talking to potential vendors, and attending meetings, we are also taking pictures for the magazine and helping the graphic design portion of the business.
Meetings with the city, distributors, brewery reps, sponsors, equipment rentals, licenses and more! We have an awesome team and we could not do it without all of our volunteers. We need 150-200 volunteers to help pull off the festival on the big day! I think the bulk of our work shines through the day before. Everyone and everything comes together and falls into place.
BOD: How do you go about getting breweries to come to Suwanee with casks of their beer?
MK: We ship the casks to the breweries to be filled. It’s all about relationships…
BOD: One of the unique features that I like about Suwanee Beer Fest is the homebrew competition, because homebrewing in many ways has been what has driven the craft beer movement in so many great directions. Explain to our readers here what the competition is like and how that idea came about.
MK: The homebrew idea came about in a Beer Fest meeting after the first year. Randall, the owner of Veugeler Design Group and founder of the Suwanee Beer Fest, wanted something else to set the fest apart. We contacted Bob with Brew Depot and everything unfolded from there.
The competition is exciting to see. The judging takes place at Brew Depot in Alpharetta. There's a gathering of brewmasters that taste and judge the beer. It's interesting to watch and you most definitely learn a ton from them.
BOD: Will there be any changes we should know about compared to previous years?
MK: There will definitely be more portapotties. Lol. We're working on a larger entrance so the line isn't massively long as well. Overall, let’s just say there is a huge surprise in the works. 😉
BOD: I've always liked the blend of this festival in terms of the great beer against the backdrop of the music onstage. Was that an easy decision with the stage and amphitheater right there in town center? Do you have to audition all the bands that want to play the festival?
MK: The music component was never a question. With easy access to the amphitheater, it just made the possibility of entertainment greater. The bands send in their information and samples. We go through each and decide which band best suits the audience.
BOD: For anyone that is thinking about attending Suwanee Beer Fest this year, what should they expect?
MK: The fest gets bigger and better every year. We always look for ways to improve in every area. This year, expect new beers, some that have not hit the market yet. Expect an awesome selection of beers handpicked by the Beer Growler, an even better Home Brew contest and live demonstrations, great music, games and the best food vendors in our food court.
Awesome. Thanks for joining us MK! And hope to see the rest of you there. Cheers!