Beverage of Choice Runs Out at First Craft Beer and Food Fest in Beach Haven
The beer ran out and the extra beer ran out, too, during the inaugural Craft Beer and Food Fest held at Veterans Memorial Park in Beach Haven Saturday. Needless to say, the crowd turnout was much larger than event organizers expected.
“We didn’t realize how many people were going to show up,” said Adam Ellender, a Beach Haven firefighter who also works for Pinelands Brewery. “Even the breweries scrambled to bring more beer, and that wasn’t even enough. It was crazy. It was a tremendous turnout.”
Around 1,000 people came out to the festival to help raise money for the local fire company and taste test some of the area’s best beer stops, which also included Ship Bottom, Backwards Flag and Icarus breweries. For $20, festival-goers received a mug and four tickets for drinks. Additional beer tickets cost $5 each.
“We would have been happy if we had 200 people come out,” said Ellender. “Everyone loved it, the beer, the food. People got to really try lots of beers from the closest breweries. And the bands killed it.”
Craft beer breweries are popping up all over, and the market has had an influx of economic growth over the past five years, Ellender said.
Manafirkin, a new brewery that opened in Stafford Township this week, also joined the festival though it did not serve beer.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the Beach Haven Fire Co., which is looking to purchase a new ladder truck that costs about $1 million, Ellender said, noting the department’s current ladder truck “breaks down all the time.”
Though Ellender said the funds raised at the festival “are a drop in the bucket” considering the fire company is a year-round, all-volunteer operation, it is a help. He hopes to keep the festival going each year, with more breweries and definitely more beer. —K.A.E.