Thousands attend Edmonton Craft Beer Festival this weekend

by | Mar 13, 2023 | Culture, Downtown | 3 comments

The Edmonton Craft Beer Festival hosted thousands of attendees at the Edmonton Expo Centre over the weekend. Organizers and local vendors say it is the largest beer event in Edmonton.

“This event hasn’t super happened this big in a few years in Edmonton. It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be three shows that are long and awesome,” said Dawn Bednarski, sales coordinator at The Grizzly Paw, a local brewery.

According to the organizers, Alberta Beer Festivals (ABF), the event aims to unite the community and support the growth of local breweries and distilleries in Alberta.

 Attendees enjoying conversations during the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival at the Expo Centre on Friday, March 10, 2023. The event organizers aimed to foster community. Tracy Thomas/The Griff

“The number one thing is that most people come together around the world over food and beverage. And so, we see it as a really fun way to get the community together,” said Bill Robinson, President of ABF.

Robinson adds that the event, which takes place in four locations within the province (Banff, Jasper, Edmonton, and Calgary), services “most of the breweries in the province and the distilleries. …by promoting them around the province in the different festivals we do.”

Over 150 vendors, more than 100 of which are breweries, were expected at this year’s event, making it the largest beer festival in Edmonton. Many vendors are household names, but a few new breweries and distilleries are exhibiting for the first time as well. About 20,000 attendees are expected to have attended this year’s event.

“I believe this will be the biggest Edmonton one,” said Drew Ross, one of the Ross brothers and part-owner of New Level Brewing. Ross adds that this was the company’s fifth time as a vendor at the festival.

The event also sponsors charity organizations at each festival. According to Robinson, ABF supports its charity partners financially and gives them a chance to do raffles like a 50/50 draw at the event. The Canadian Mental Health Association and WIN House are this year’s charity partners.

“So, this year, ourselves and Win House are the charity partners for Beerfest for 2023. So, we’re here, you know, raising awareness and also doing some fundraising as well,” said Laura James, an Alberta representative of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Activities at the event included beer and liquor tastings, live music, games, and seminars such as the Brew Master and Cooking with Beer seminars.

Attendees playing a game of Jenga during the Edmonton Craft Beer Festival at the Expo Centre on Friday, March 10, 2023. The event organizers aimed to foster community. Tracy Thomas/The Griff

Speaking on what they learned at the Brew Master seminar, attendee Sarah Henry, stated, “Alberta breweries are expanding, and it’s worthwhile travelling to taste other flavours.”

Ryan Gallivan, another attendee, is hoping to “find a beer that [he] really like[s] and go out and buy it at a liquor store somewhere.”

Tracy Thomas

The Griff

3 Comments

  1. Emily

    I can’t believe I missed it!!!!

    Reply
  2. Dylan

    I’ve lived in Edmonton all my life, but i don’t really know what events are happening 90% of the time. Good to know we have these events happening here.

    Reply
  3. Pina

    It was such an amazing experience!! Supporting local breweries and getting a sense of community. I would like to go again next time.

    Reply

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