Craig Johnson is thinking big with the inaugural Cleveland Winter Beerfest. He's expecting 5,000 to 6,000 people to attend the two-day event, set for Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 at the Cleveland Convention Center downtown.
"We’re really kicking into gear now," Johnson, director of events for Festivals Unlimited, said Friday about the promotional efforts. "Our prediction of 5,000 or 6,000 will be right on."
Festivals Unlimited also organizes beer events in Columbus, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The fourth annual Columbus Winter Beerfest this month attracted 12,000. In a weird twist, 2,500 people attended Friday and 9,500 came on Saturday. Johnson said he's at a loss to explain why, but he's expecting attendance to be more evenly distributed over the two days in Cleveland.
The Cleveland Winter Beerfest will feature about 87 breweries and 330 beers. A full breakdown is available at the festival website. The presenting sponsors are Great Lakes, Fat Head's and Blue Moon.
Johnson said radio personality Jeffrey from Rover's Morning Glory will visit Great Lakes next week to brew beer as part of a promotional event. Great Lakes couldn't immediately be reached for comment. And Rover's Morning Glory didn't immediately respond to a Tweet.
VIP tickets and regular admission tickets are $45 and $35 in advance, respectively. Organizers also are visiting area breweries selling them for $40 and $30. The discounted tickets will be available Friday night (Jan. 24) at Market Garden Brewery and Nano Brew Cleveland in Cleveland; on Tuesday (Jan. 28) at Willoughby Brewing in Willoughby; and on Wednesday (Jan. 29) at Fat Head's in North Olmsted and Middleburg Heights.
The VIP tickets simply allow you to get in an hour early and have a crack at the specialty beers early.
For more details about the event, click here.