Death of the Beer Festival

In NYC I was definitely noticing this. Other Half scaled down Green City and effectively cancelled pastrytown. In DC, Savour is gone. That said Philadelphia got a bunch of new fests…

Going to one on Sunday while in Southern California, times change (as mentioned in the article) but good beer will survive.


Obviously a US phenomenon because, if anything, the number of festivals in the UK is increasing.

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What kind of festival would you say is increasing?

I’ve noticed the trend around festivals ending or at least getting smaller. As I recall, attendance has been shrinking for some of the large CAMRA festivals, notably the Great British Beer Festival. My local CAMRA fest, Pigs Ear, has also shrunk a bit in the past few years.

Personally, I definitely don’t do that many festivals anymore. I used to travel internationally for them. This year, I am doing one day at the Great British Beer Festival and then I will do multiple days at Pigs Ear (because it’s a 10-minute walk from my house).


For a start I’d say there seem to be far more organised by breweries. And also a lot more craft focused ones.

No shortage here. They don’t really appeal to me. Great Taste of the Midwest is 80 dollars this year. I don’t usually drink 80 dollars worth of beer in an afternoon. Coupled with the 80 mile drive back home and I’m just leaning towards no. Also Oneida and Dead Rider are playing in Chicago that weekend. They had one in Milwaukee called Lager and Friends which looked pretty cool, but was from like 12-4…pretty much promoting binge drinking early in the afternoon.

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I always go for the afternoon. Means I can function 05:00 the next morning when the boy decides to wake up.

It seems like crappy distributor fests in the US are declining and good riddance. Similarly, expensive and more niche beer fests (like the BA ones) are also declining. But well run and affordable fests are still around and plenty of them.

15 Orange County breweries feature here tomorrow:

50 Dollars for unlimited pours (3 hours) around here is very good value (as long as the beers are OK.


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At beer fest here in Virginia today “Lawnmower Beer Festival”. Not large crowd, started at noon and one brewery is out at 2pm. But I’ll get 20ish ticks so I’m here.


Completely agree with you there Leighton.

I did the Brugge beer festival in Belgium last month (I go every year) and I did the Ealing beer festival this week, I like the venue outside in Walpole Park but the cask beer was a bit on the warm side and the range wasn’t what it used to be. Not many beers over 5% compared to the past festivals at Ealing. Festivals don’t do glass refunds anymore and entrance fees have risen significantly. I actually gave up my CAMRA membership last year after 30 odd years.

I’ll do a couple of days at GBBF this year, a day at Pigs Ear and maybe a day at St Albans if the beer list is decent. Pre covid I was doing 10+ festivals a year. I’d say Covid has definitely changed a lot, cost of living has too.

Almost all breweries out of beer by 3pm, fest went until 5pm!

Amateurs organized that fest. Also, at a Lawnmower fest it does take more beer to get your fill.


It was ran by a brewery (2nd oldest in VA) that I went to their Dark Knight fest. That event turned out well, so I didn’t expect this. The biggest mistake was not really bank on that many people showing up to buy tickets day of as only had pre-sale of 68 tickets. The pre-sale is what they told the breweries coming so they didn’t bring enough beer.

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Pah - completely forgot about Ealing

Have done it a few times, including last year, and always enjoyed it

Just didn’t see it advertised anywhere so it slipped my mind

Thats the key I guess …if you focus on CAMRA fests then they are reducing. Out in Berks, Hants and elsewhere there seem to be multiple alternatives.

No jokes about Covid killing 50% of CAMRA’s membership, please.