Few states have been as important to the craft brewing boom as Colorado. And few cities in Colorado have experienced it like Fort Collins. “We have 6 breweries in Fort Collins alone,” says Peggy Lyle of the Colorado Brewers’ Festival. “There’s really a great love for beer here.”
For over 20 years, that hop-preciation for fine ales has centered on the Brewers’ Festival, a grand annual event traditionally held in Fort Collins’ historic downtown. Attendees come from all over the state—and country—to taste a smorgasboard of suds and learn more about the brewing process. And it’s not just Fort Collins beers they’re sipping: the festival includes beers from every corner of the Centennial State. “We’re the only festival to represent all of Colorado,” Lyle says.
Distilling the experience
Given the Festival’s huge success—last year’s gathering brought in 30,000 attendees—it could be tempting for the organizers to stick with the tried-and-true. But for this year’s event, they’ve decided to upgrade with some exciting changes. For starters, they’ve opted to establish a separate festival area for the first time: a grassy park adjacent to downtown. A live band will perform while eventgoers do their tasting.
The organizers are also offering tickets for distinct tasting sessions. For Lyle, these changes are about “building more of an experience for people.” They’re actually aiming for lower attendance numbers this year—”we’re anticipating 15,000–20,000 people,” she says—but hopefully a more concentrated event. It’s a great reminder that bigger is not always better.
Brewing up the buzz
The organizing team also decided to bring their event management fully online for the first time in 2010. We don’t need to tell you that we think this was a great call! They’re a social media–savvy group—in addition to their strong traditional marketing program on posters, radio, and TV—and using Eventbrite lets their attendees become instant Festival promoters, blasting the event to their social networks.
They’ve also made the most of some of our favorite Eventbrite features. The blank design slate has helped them keep their strong brand identity. “We really liked the way we could customize the page,” says Lyle. And the flexibility of different ticket types fits perfectly with their plan for the new festival.
Volunteers really help
One other thing that got us really hopped up about Colorado Brewers’ Festival is their impressive use of volunteer help (they expect to have over 500 volunteers on board this year). That’s a huge boon to the operation, and for some eventholders it may sound unrealistic. But we see it as a testament to the strong community presence the Festival has built over 20 years. It’s what happens when a community comes together around great live events.
We’ve got a bunch of great beer festivals on Eventbrite this summer! Here are some more: