The Whistler Village Beer Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary and is pulling out all the stops to make for a stellar weekend of ale sipping. We spoke to Tara Myers from the Whistler Beer Festival to hear about the festival and its growth.
Vancouver Weekly: The event has grown over the years. How will 2017 compare to the first event five years ago?
Tara Myers: The festival is bigger and better than ever, in particular because it’s our fifth anniversary. We’re back with five days of beer fuelled fun and are confident that 2017 offers our best full event schedule to date. Returning favourite events like Master Crafters are complemented by new additions, like Axes & Ales presented by Whistler Brewing Co. and Sip ‘N Stretch, our first ever beer yoga event.
The two-day Main Event is special this year because we’re offering all Saturday pass holders bonus admission to the grounds on Sunday. Most ticket options also come with more tokens than ever before, to ensure beer lovers can enjoy as many of the 60 craft breweries as possible. Our live music lineup features eight live acts across the two days, with Whistler faves like Red Chair and our headliner from Victoria, Band of Rascals.
VW: What can you tell me about the awards and the judging process? I know that the securing draft taps in Whistler is a big carrot. Please tell me about the process?
First, second and third place will be decided by redeemed token weight across the two-day Main Event (i.e. whoever has the most festival-goers sample their beer). New this year will also be a People’s Choice category decided by festival-goers who place their vote at the Preston Mobility voting booth. The Top three winners and the people’s choice award winner will receive prized draft lines at four local Whistler establishments.
VW: What does success look like for a festival like this?
We’ve already had a number of successes in terms of more interest from craft breweries than ever before (there’s been a waiting list for the last 2 months), maxing out our site with the overwhelming interest from sponsors and vendors, and feeling more support from the community than ever before, with a ton of local businesses coming to the table to host peripheral events for the first time, like Lululemon and Hunter Gather. Another goal we’d love to hit is to have more festival-goers than ever before across the Main Event, so far we’re on track to beat last year’s number of 3,750.
VW: How long a deal do you have to be at the Olympic Plaza?
We re-apply every year, the Resort Municipality Of Whistler has been very supportive of our festival and we continue to work closely with them to ensure the success of WVBF continues to grow and continues to drive craft beer and festival lovers to Whistler.
VW: Who are some of the new breweries attending that you are especially excited about?
A Frame Brewing from Squamish, Backcountry Brewing also from Squamish and Beau’s All Natural Brewing, joining us all the way from Eastern Ontario.