CANADA – Within a month of purchasing a local pub in 2008, two friends hosted a party in its parking lot. The event was so successful, they thought the small town of Bracebridge could use something similar on a grander scale.
By 2009 Curt Dunlop and Jed Corbeil, proprietors of the Griffin Gastro pub put together Muskoka’s first annual beer festival. With the help of breweries, local farmers, and musicians, the festival attracted more than 600 people in its first year.
“They did a great job hiring fun, out-going, engaging, and passionate people, and we feel we do the same” said Dunlop. “We share many of the same goals, in the same region. So it’s a partnership that naturally fits for scope and geography.”
He added that they try to maintain a close relationship with all local breweries. For example, the Muskoka Brewery is about a five minute walk from The Griffin.
“We become their go-to place for lunch and they become our go-to place for beer supply [when drastically low],” he said.
This year’s festival hosted more than 25 brewers and vendors, and bands such as the Muskoka Men of Sound, The Sure things, The Peat Brothers, Kirsten Sholte & The Fancys and Douglas Watson Rhythm & Blues Revue. The festival is growing annually. In 2009, 600 people attended. In 2010, 1100. This year more than 1600.
Dunlop says it’s nice to see the festival growing, as it means the event has gained enough attention, that people are willing to make a trip north for it – and the local economy gets a boost from the added tourism.
Although the actual festival was a one day event, from 12PM to 8 PM, it proved worthwhile staying for the weekend. On the Friday a lot of brewers, vendors and visitor’s got together at The Griffin for drinks and live music. The next morning the festival began. Followed by the festival people made their way down to The Griffin for more live music, and a more intimate sort of party in the parking lot.
Check out the video here!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1wpLzMbZRM