How to Plan a Beer Festival

Bring together the beer connoisseurs in your area by hosting a beer festival. This event can attract many participants if you set reasonable prices and offer a variety of brews to appeal to every beer lover's taste. Think about past festivals you've attended when planning your event -- consider what worked and, just as importantly, what failed.

Contact your city about the sale and distribution of alcohol. Cities have ordinances about who can sell beer and where people can drink. Ask city officials about open container laws in the area; the city might lift open container laws for your venue on the day of the beer festival. Secure any permits you need to operate. If you don't, then your beer festival will likely get shut down even before it starts.

Find a venue to host your beer festival. Ideally, you should host this event outdoors to maximise the number of guests. A beer festival is an appropriate event during spring and summer. Look for large, open spaces that give you room to set up a variety of tents and booths. A community park or large car park can work well as your beer festival venue.

Seek vendors to participate in the beer festival. Contact local breweries about setting up tables to offer their brews. National beer chains likely will want to sell their brand at the festival as well. In addition to beer vendors, offer food. Talk to restaurants and bars about participating in your event.

Secure entertainment. Though your guests will likely focus on enjoying a cold brew or two at your beer festival, the more entertainment you have, the longer you can keep guests at the festival. If your venue has room for a stage, ask local bands to perform at the event. You can allow them to sell their music in exchange for a free performance. Local dance troupes can also provide entertainment as guests imbibe.

Establish ticket prices. Once you've secured your vendors and entertainment, you will have a sense of the cost of the festival. Base your ticket prices on that cost. If you want to make a profit, charge a couple dollars more per ticket than it costs for a guest to attend. Sell tickets in advance of the event to build community interest.

Promote the event. Post flyers on community notice boards and in bars and restaurants around town. Place spots on the local radio station, or secure space in the newspaper to advertise. Create a page for your festival on social networking sites. You can generate some online buzz for the festival and direct your fans to the festival's official website, if you create one.


Work with local law enforcement to keep your event safe. In addition to curbing underage drinking, police officers can keep the crowd from getting too rowdy, which is always a risk when alcohol is involved.

Things You'll Need

  • City permits
  • Liquor license
  • Tents
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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.