Krystal Adams, beer festival organizer raises a glass to the new location in Chemainus. (Don Bodger/Black Press)

Krystal Adams, beer festival organizer raises a glass to the new location in Chemainus. (Don Bodger/Black Press)

Chemainus beer and food festival expands in second year

The monumental growth of the event in just one year doesn’t come as a surprise to Adams.

By Don Bodger

Bigger and better are the main ingredients for the Cowichan Craft Beer & Food Festival’s encore in Chemainus Aug. 12.

Krystal Adams, event director and marketing coordinator to the Chemainus Business Improvement Association, is being kept hopping with the large volume of ticket sales and a huge crowd is brewing for the second annual event.

The monumental growth of the event in just one year doesn’t come as a surprise to Adams.

“I think because the first event was so good and it wasn’t a big drinking fest, it was a tasting festival,” she noted. “We had a good mix of beer to food and we had the space.”

The location is changing to accommodate the larger crowd from the downtown square to the Artisan Park Grounds behind the large archway. People will begin to notice the grounds being spruced up for the event this week.

“We’re not touching any of the trees,” Adams emphasized. “We’re just going to clean it up and make it easy access for everyone.”

There will be 30 breweries represented, nearly double last year’s 16. The food selection has also increased with at least 10 vendors and possibly a few more coming on board before the day.

“Most restaurants are bringing two dishes,” Adams pointed out. “We have everything from the Chemainus Theatre’s doing oysters to all kinds of stuff — potato skins, shepherd’s pie.

“This year, what I’m telling all my vendors is make sure you don’t run out. We’re not going to run out of beer, we’re not going to run out of food.”

With the number of breweries, there is a possibility of up to 100 different beers to try. Choosing a few will surely be a difficult task.

Seven hundred tickets have already been sold for the event. There’s a capacity for up to 1,500.

“Honestly, I think we’ll have 1,200 here,” Adams said. “They’ve (tickets) started to fly off the shelves this week.”

About 80 per cent of the ticket buyers so far are from the Cowichan Valley, she pointed out, but the list stretches to Tofino and as far away as Alberta.

Tickets are still available in numerous locations and Adams is expecting a late rush as the event draws near.

Pre-sale tickets are $19.99 for a limited time through CraftBeerAndFoodFest.com. Regular admission is $25.99, VIP $42.99 and additional tasting tokens are $2.50 each.

VIP admission is from 12:30-5 p.m., with general admission from 1-5 p.m.

Each ticket will not only allow entry onto the grounds, but comes with five tasting tokens, a keepsake glass and a chance to win a tablet donated by Telus. There will also be live music on the grounds.

The Cowichan Craft Beer and Food Festival, with Chemainus’ Riot Brewing Co. as a support organizer, is one of the few events B.C. wide to be sanctioned by the B.C. Craft Brewers Guild. Rigorous standards must be met as part of the honour.

“Chemainus is very proud to host an event you would typically see in a larger market like Victoria,” noted Riot Brewing co-founder Aly Tomlin. “We might be in a small community, but the event is anything but.”

The event is being held at the same time as a Rockabilly Festival at Waterwheel Park and a shuttle bus will be available to take anyone between venues.

It promises to be a memorable weekend that will put Chemainus clearly into the limelight again.

“If you want a good taste of B.C. beer and Cowichan food, this is the place to be,” enthused Adams.