It was my great pleasure today to speak with Mike Halker of Due South Brewing about the upcoming Florida Brewers Guild Beer Fest 2014. There are lots of changes since last year, so even if you’re an old pro (this is its 18th year!) at this you may want to pay close attention.
The biggest changes apparently are in the overall logistics of the event. This is the first year they are using an electronic ticketing system. Expect a limited wait in line to get in, as Mike expects ticket checkers to working the lines handing out wristbands for admission. Lines should move quick and should get everyone into the new location – Cotanchobee Fort Brook Park near the St. Pete Times forum. That’s the other big change – in previous years the fest was held in Ybor city. The new location should easily handle the 3,000-3,500 expected beer lovers from around the state. Another big change – the number of brewers present. In the past there were 20-30; this year Mike’s expecting two-three times that number: 60-70 brewers from around the state. Most of the Florida’s breweries will be represented. With so many more brewers and breweries represented, this should be a great event to get access to some of those beers you’ve been wanting to try but haven’t had a chance. Probably the second most welcome change is a significant increase in the number of “facilities” if you know what I mean – and by significant I mean triple the amount. Yep, they’re serious about keeping people happy.
All this hoopla is well placed – as the Beer Fest is the first of literally thousands of events planned for Tampa Bay Beer Week 2014. And what better way to kick off the event than to have the Mayor of the city of Tampa tap the ceremonial keg? The time is yet to be announced, but I have it from a reliable source that it should be around 3:00pm.
Here are the details:
- 2:00 – 6:00pm on Saturday 1 March 2014
- $35 in advance, $45 at the door
- Limited to 3,000 total tickets (online + door sales; they will sell out!) (Buy tickets here: https://floridabrewersguild.ticketbud.com/beerfesttampa2014)
- Complimentary 2-ounce sample cup, with unlimited samples for the duration of the event
- Entertainment and food trucks will be available
- Accommodations available at the Marriott Waterside – just ask for the Florida Brewers Guild rate ($224/night, but you may get a better rate if you ask)
- No pets allowed
- Must be 21 or older to enter (no kids allowed)
I’ll post more information including breweries that will be in attendance as soon as I receive it.