Glass City Beer Fest to feature local, regional breweriesWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: This version corrects the advance price for tickets, which is $30, not $25 as previously reported.
By Dave Kubacki, Toledo Free Press Star Staff Writer
On March 1, the Glass City will have plenty to keep their mugs full as the 7th Annual Glass City Beer Fest takes over the Lucas County Recreation Center.
This year’s event will showcase 42 breweries and offer 175 different tastes including suds from local breweries such as Maumee Bay Brewing Co., Great Black Swamp Brewing and Sugar Ridge Brewery. Regional favorites such as Great Lakes Brewing Company, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and Goose Island will also pour beers from their extensive portfolios. Revenue from the event will help support The Arc Lucas County and the Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation.
Kay Bennett, executive director of the Arc of Lucas County and also one of the festival’s producers, said the event offers the city a unique opportunity to try a variety of new beers.
“The festival provides an opportunity for people to try wonderful craft beers that they wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to try,” Bennett said. “Craft beers have really taken ahold of the market and have become very popular. Many people are now brewing their own beers so they enjoy the chance to come out and try different styles.”
The event, which previously occurred at the Erie Street Market, will be at the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee for the first time.
According to Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation Executive Director Carla Wells, the event’s other producer, the change in venue will allow for more diversification in the styles of beers available.
“Traditionally, the event has grown about 15-20 percent each year,” Wells said. “Last year, we had about 1,500 people so we are hoping to have anywhere up to 2,000. We had outgrown the space at Erie Street Market so moving allowed us to invite more brewers to the event.”
The Glass City Beer Fest was the brainchild of Wells and Bennett. The two had been trying to identify a fundraising event for their respective foundations. After attending several different beer festivals in Michigan, Wells called Bennett and said she had the idea.
“We knew that if our organizations worked together, we could produce a quality event,” Bennett said. “We wanted to hold the event during a time of the year when not a whole lot was going on. After [Wells] came back from an event in Michigan we thought it would be a great idea to bring a craft beer event to the city. We got Andersons and Joseph’s Beverage Center on board and we were on our way.”
According to Wells, the event can help people narrow down the type of styles they like, making trips to a local store a bit easier amid the growing number of choices.
“We were trying to think of an event that was unique to this area, but didn’t necessarily want to re-create the wheel that was happening in other communities,” Wells said. “It was a nice opportunity to try microbrews that can be somewhat expensive. You can get a six-pack and if you don’t like it, you could be stuck with five beers that may have cost you $12. We decided to take a chance. That was seven years ago.”
According to Jon Koester, head brewer at Maumee Bay Brewing Co., the event helps put Toledo on the craft beer map.
“Considering that we haven’t had any organized event for craft beer before this, it’s huge,” Koester said. “For those that don’t know much about craft beer, they get the chance to sample many different styles. They are able to find out where to purchase these beers or find out which bars carry them. It represents growth for the entire beer community and is a great event for the city of Toledo.”
Tickets for the event, which will run from 7-11 p.m. March 1, can be purchased in advance for $30 at the Andersons Customer Service Desks or $35 at the door. With the price of admission, attendees will get 12 taste tickets good for 3-ounce pours. Additional taste tickets will be available for $1 each or 6 for $5. Parking for the event is free.