Opinion

Kicking back for Bremerton BrewFest

It seems that the planets are aligned once again for the 2014 Bremerton BrewFest coming this weekend.

Warm weather, award winning brews and a festive atmosphere in downtown Bremerton, combined with a few hundred of your friends, and it is a good time to be had by all.

Every year a collective number of brewers from Kitsap County come together and exhaust themselves through testimony and petitions to the Washington Beer Commission in the hope that Bremerton will continue to be awarded one of the six festival slots. The mission of the Washington Beer Commission is to promote Washington beers so that demand and awareness is increased through marketing and tasting festivals.

Because of the unique downtown location of the festival, increased overhead costs to hold it there and due to a smaller number of participants when compared to the other commission festivals, Bremerton needs to work a lot harder when it comes to proving year after year that they are a viable market that continues to draw in a wide base of consumers.

When the event started in 2011, there were a considerable number of naysayers that such an event would never work. Predictions that public intoxication, on the day of the event, would lead to a massive increase in disorderly conduct, assaults, theft and DUIs has so far turned out not to be correct.

BrewFest organizers and volunteers work very closely with local law enforcement to ensure that any problems that do arise are quickly taken care of.

Changes over time to the footprint of the festival, entry and exit locations and an increasing number of (non-alcohol) vendors have improved the overall event experience.

A casual and friendly atmosphere is created and nearly everyone is relaxed and social. No matter how long the lines are, most participants are patient with the process. Well, at least until the good beers start to run out. Then, of course, there are always going to be some grumbles. Repeat participants have learned how to lay out their tasting strategy well in advance.

Many will study up on the brewers who are coming, what they are most likely going to bring, what is most likely going to run out first and plan out their token use accordingly.

I very much enjoy having the BrewFest here in Bremerton and I am not ashamed to use this opportunity to thank the Washington State Beer Commission, all of the wonderful local brewers here in Kitsap who work so hard to keep this event in Bremerton. And thanks to the city of Bremerton for the needed assistance with street closures, policing and logistics that make it all possible.

Get the word out and let’s make this year’s event the biggest and best ever. Come to Bremerton and enjoy this unique opportunity.

 

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