Move fast if you want to get to the Dunedin Craft Beer & Food Festival. Organiser Dan Hendra expects all 6200 tickets to be gone by Thursday.
This Saturday will host the fourth and largest Festival, with 80 vendors. “The first year we had just under 3000 people and about 35 vendors, and most of those were from Dunedin.
“That first year we had teething issues with the currency tokens we were using, but last year we changed the date until after the last rugby game of the year, so we could take over the entire field, which just made it a really seamless event. We had more sites and more activities and we’ve taken that further this year.”
The event website lists 60 brewers for this year, and many are bringing festival brews and limited releases. There’s also a Home Brew competition, with the winners announced during the afternoon.
But it’s more than just a beer spotters convention, with 21 cidermakers, wineries and distillers also attending. Food is just as important, there’s constant entertainment, and kids are welcome.
“Food is huge element and a lot of people don’t realise that until they get to the event”, Dan says.
“There’s about 35 food stalls. The food is not a side-product – we have quality food and high-profile restaurants coming from Southland, Queenstown, Wanaka, Hokitika, Twizel, Christchurch all travelling down to be part of this, which is awesome.
“The first year we made the Festival R-18, which was fine, but one of my philosophies is that if you include kids and make it more family-friendly, people don’t drink as much around the little ones. The whole team have families or friends with families. So we’ve got family events all day with a bouncy castle and balloons and Otago Museum on board too. That’s a huge element and we love that.”
The Festival is at Dunedin’s Forsyth-Barr Stadium, on the grass and inside too. “It’s a fantastic venue for an event like this because it feels like you’re in a park. Every year it’s rained, with snow the second year, but it doesn’t matter because we’re under cover. And people don’t realise that – I had a number of friends who went to leave last year and noticed it was raining outside so they stayed for another hour.”