The San Juan Brewfest turns 21 on Aug. 24! The Brewfest is presented by Bank of the San Juans, and it benefits United Way of Southwest Colorado. It is the largest beer tasting event in the Four Corners.
The Brewfest started at Purgatory in 1999. In 2008, Purgatory moved the event to Downtown Durango. Purgatory chose United Way of Southwest Colorado as their partner.
The event was held on the 1200 block of Main from 2008 to 2012. The Brewfest owes a debt of gratitude to Scotty Warren who worked at Purgatory in those days, and to Todd Youngblood and Dan Mantineo. All helped plan and grow the event.
In 2013, I began working for the Durango Business Improvement District. BID’s job is to market and promote downtown and North Main District businesses, and I could see the potential of the Brewfest to bring visitors and locals to town at the very end of summer. BID offered to manage most aspects of the event for United Way, and they accepted.
The Brewfest raised $8,000 for our United Way in 2013, and last year the proceeds surpassed $40,000. 2,500 people attend, and 1,000 of those are from out of the area and make a weekend in Durango out of the Brewfest.
This year, ticket sales are trending three weeks ahead of last year’s record pace. I expect a sellout at least a week before the event date.
A general admission ticket only costs $40. You receive a 5 oz. souvenir tasting glass, and unlimited samples from the 50 breweries that are attending. Food is available for purchase from four food vendors. Two live bands are playing this year for your entertainment – Ron Artis II & The Truth headlines and the opener is Spidercat. Thanks to Marcus Smith for always bringing us great music!
A VIP ticket gets all of the above, plus several extras. First is an invite to the VIP and Brewers Party, held on Aug. 23 at 11th Street Station. The next day, VIP’s get in one hour early, and have access to the VIP tent where they can enjoy a small meal from T’s Smokehouse. There are only 18 VIP tickets left I write this.
We also have several new ticketed events both before and after the Brewfest. There is a beer and food pairing class at El Moro; a women’s only beer education class with the leaders of the local Pink Boots Society chapter; a private tour of Ska led by Dave Thibodeau, who will let you taste some beers not typically available to the public; a Bloody Mary bar at El Rancho; and an amazing breakfast buffet and bloody or mimosa at Carver Brewing Co.
Get your tickets to the San Juan Brewfest at SanJuanBrewfest.com, and support your local United Way while tasting amazing craft beers and listening to great bands!
Tim Walsworth is the executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.