WINNEBAGO — Organizers have begun planning for next year following the success of the inaugural Winnebago Craft Brew Fest.
“It went awesome. It was a sellout,” Winnebago City Administrator Austin Bleess said of the June 23 event that attracted 800 festgoers to a downtown park in the city of 1,400 residents.
Bleess said 800 tickets were printed and plans call for adding more next year. Also, an extra tent will be added in 2013 for better crowd flow.
The festival this year attracted 28 breweries from throughout the nation and featured 68 types of beers.
The admission price allowed festgoers unlimited three-ounce samplings during the 3-10 p.m. event that included a band and attracted patrons from near and far.
Bleess said a 40-something couple from Kansas, who take annual brewery tours to celebrate their anniversary, opted for the Winnebago fest this year.
Mankato Brewery owner and fest vendor Tim Tupy said the day’s turnout was impressive, given the size of the community.
“I’ve been to these where 70 people show up. I think it went really well. Whatever they did to promote it and brand it worked. We’ll definitely be there next year.”
Bleess said police reported no fest-related incidents and several breweries ran out of their sampling stock on the ideal 78-degree day.
Bleess said the event’s $10,000 profit will be split between the local Lions Club and a fund kitty for next year’s fest. The Lions portion will go toward funding community projects.
Talks about staging such an event began several months ago as city officials discussed ways to bring more people to town. Bleess said the brew fest idea was settled upon despite the fact that events of that nature typically are held in much larger communities.
Mankato had a short-lived annual beer-tasting event that ceased in 2008.