July 13, 2012 · Updated 9:55 AM
The Second Annual Bremerton Summer Brewfest is on tap for July 21 and promoters and local retailers alike are hoping to build upon the success of last year’s event.
The inaugural event drew almost 4,000 beer lovers to the city, outpacing all expectations for the event. Crowds were double the anticipated 2,000 attendees. Some breweries ran out of beer.
Sponsored by the Washington Beer Commission, which is authorized by the Washington State Legislature to promote the state’s breweries, this year’s organizers said there will be plenty of beer and that they expanded the event space.
Eric Radovich, Executive Director of the Commission, said the success of last year’s event prepared promoters for a big turnout this year.
“This year’s event venue will grow to accommodate more people,” Radovich said. “We will also be bringing more beer.”
Expected are 26 Washington breweries serving tastes of more than 60 beers. Local breweries include Der Blokken Brewery, Silver City Brewery and Sound Brewery.
Local bands Letters, Fox and the Law and Ben Union will perform. Lighter food options will be available, but organizers encourage attendees to sample local restaurants for more substantial fare.
Bringing attention to local restaurants and other businesses is another goal of the affair.
Patty Graf-Hoke, Executive Director of Kitsap Peninsula Visitor and Convention Bureau, another sponsor of the event, said the Brewfest was part of an ongoing plan to promote local breweries and businesses and to market the area. A growing demographic of young people in the Seattle area are discovering Bremerton and the Peninsula, she said
“We are trying to market the area as a great getaway for people in Seattle, the state and beyond,” she said. “It is taking advantage of a new demographic of younger people coming to Seattle with the growth of Amazon and the development of the Lake Union area.”
Kurt Larson, Director of Marketing for Silver City Brewery and an organizer for both years’ events, said local business owners wanted to use the event as a means of promoting recent changes in the downtown area. He added that the success of last year’s event had everyone involved looking to the future.
“We want to do as much as we can to promote Bremerton and have people dine in local restaurants and see how downtown has refreshed,” Larson said. “Last years’ event was hugely successful. All in all, knock on wood, based on that, it could become a staple event for the area and we are even looking to make it a two-day event.”
Graf-Hoke believes the event could easily grow into a signature event for Bremerton.
“We are looking for ways to fill hotels and bring money into area,” she said. “We would like to see people stay overnight.”
Larson said he received positive feedback from the Bremerton Police Department as well as other officials in the crowd at last year’s event and looks forward to another great beer event.
“The Bremerton police were ecstatic with how well behaved the crowd was,” Larson said. “We just ask people to plan on a designated driver and to not over indulge.”