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Good Beer Hunting

Nov 29, 2023

When we talk about what they appreciate about beer, it’s not uncommon to hear them mention the people; the “community.” And in a very tangible way, there are few examples for how this appears than at a beer festival. All over the country, almost all year-round, you can find examples of packed event halls, convention centers, and even parking lots where enthusiasts and novices alike mill about, sampling different beers. But more recently - and certainly partially because of the COVID pandemic - these festivals have hit a rough patch. For some of the most prominent beer fests, interest isn’t as high as it used to be and ticket sales are just a little tougher.

In Canada, the annual Windsor Craft Beer Festival was canceled due to lagging sales while it easily sold out during its heydays of the mid-2010s. Similarly, The Oregon Brewers Festival was canceled this year after organizers shared that higher costs, lower attendance, and extreme weather were making it harder to stay a successful event. Last year, the Great American Beer Festival cut its ticket numbers by 20,000 across multiple sessions after years of more challenging sales. 

So what is the state of these special events? Let’s dive into it with Sightlines reporter Kate Bernot…