Beervana’s new owner, Wellington Culinary Events Trust, says the festival will remain as a stand-alone beer event.
BeertownNZ spoke to Trust chief executive Sarah Meikle the day after she arrived back from the Melbourne Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS). With just nine weeks until Beervana 2015, Sarah says it is business as usual this year, with changes planned for following years.
“There’s few things we will change this year but we won’t change everything at once. As far as the brewers go, we won’t be buying the beer up front any more, which gives brewers more flexibility and control. From the volunteers’ point of view, we are recruiting now. People want to be more than just attendees – they want to be a part of it and we want to keep that opportunity for them. Beervana wouldn’t be what it is without volunteers.
“And for visitors, we want to streamline the process around issuing and charging the payment wristbands. We are committed to the Westpac Stadium Concourse this year but we want to make some changes to make it a cheerier place to be – things like more heating, more seating, and other things we can do to make it more interesting for people.”
This year will repeat the trade show on the Thursday afternoon. International visitors from Australia, Portland and Pink Boots will be back and other guests are being sought. The plastic glasses will be back too, dammit, but just for logistical reasons.
And for 2016 and beyond? Sarah is adamant that Beervana will never be subsumed into Wellington on a Plate.
“Beervana will remain a standalone beer event. It will have its own brand, its own manager, it is owned by a completely independent company. There’s no question Beervana is a great attractor to Visa Wellington on a Plate (VWOAP) but it never going to merged to become the VWOAP beer event.
“We’re going to review the venue and look at other options. There are some more creative options we can look at for the medium term. And that brings other opportunities, like looking at the timing, at the same time.
“Coming away from GABS, I feel really confident about Beervana. Undoubtedly the biggest draw card of GABS is the venue – it’s stunning! But I think the opportunity for the brewers is better at Beervana and they can represent themselves well. I would like to look at a tasting paddle option, because that works so well at GABS, and I’d like to see more limited releases that you have to be at Beervana to experience.”