ATLANTIC CITY — The ninth annual Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival benefits all the craft beer makers attending the two-day festival, which ends today, but the local beer makers receive a double boost from showing up.
They can not only hype their beer to one of the largest gatherings of all things beer in the country, they also can promote to visitors the idea of driving to the next county and visiting their brewery.
The focus of the Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival is the promotion of and education on craft beers.
Jim McAfee, 41, of Seaville, Dennis Township, one of the partners with Tuckahoe Brewing Co., said one of the best things about attending beer fest is talking to other local brewers.
“It's a great way to meet other people in the same line of business that we are. Atlantic City offers exposure to New York and Philadelphia,” McAfee said.
There are tours and tastings at the Tuckahoe Brewing Co., 9 Stoney Court, Ocean View, from 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays.
More than 150 breweries from the across the country are present, and it is estimated that about 24,000 people total will attend beer fest on Friday and today.
Dan Petela, 25, of Wildwood, is the tap room attendant with the Cape May Brewing Company, 1288 Hornet Road, Rio Grande. This was Petela's second time at beer fest, but his first time working for the company.
“I came as a patron and a judge last year. It was awesome, better than I expected. It's a fun crowd with food, beer and music,” Petela said.
Cape May Brewing Company has accounts in Atlantic County, and they promote brewery tourism, Petela said. Currently, they have 19 beers on tap at the brewery, way more than what they could bring to beer fest.
Over the course of attending beer fest for the last five years, Walt Walker, 30, Philadelphia, has probably tasted most of the beers available for sampling, but he keeps coming back for more.
“I came the first time to try new flavors. I lived in Vineland at the time. It's a fun event,” said Walker, a 2001 Vineland High School graduate, who added he might taste as many as 40 different beers during his three hours at beer fest Friday.
But beer fest is not just beers.
Lisa Winn, 51, of New York City, attended the very first beer fest nine years ago. When Winn became unemployed in recent years, she started her own business, Thirst Quencher Neckware, which is bottlecap necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Winn sold her bottlecap necklaces at last year's beer fest, and she was back again this year.
“It's a great venue. There are a lot of good people. Tonight, people are coming back wearing my jewelry made from bottlecaps. It makes me happy,” Winn said.
The Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival concludes with two separate sessions from noon to 4 p.m. and 6 to 10 p.m. today. The musical headliners for the afternoon and evenings session are Dirty Heads and the Less than Jake respectively. Less than Jake are one of the headliners for this year's Warped Tour. Tickets are $60 at the door if available. No one under age 21 will be admitted to the show. For more information, see acbeerfest.com.
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