Citing a low vaccination rate and a spike in transmissions of COVID-19, the highly anticipated Tallahassee Beer Festival was postponed from its planned date in late August while keeping hope alive for a 2021 return.
Following a coordinated enhancement in venue safety protocols and a consistent decline in local COVID cases, the third annual Tallahassee Beer Festival is finally set to take place at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Tucker Civic Center.
Established in 2018 and previously hosted at The Pavilion on North Monroe Street, the festival has grown exponentially with each year and is considered North Florida’s largest craft beer festival since 2019, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
More than 70 craft breweries are expected to bring their unique hops and histories to the event, with more than 200 ciders, ales, meads, sparkling sodas, wines and beers for attendees to enjoy throughout the event’s unlimited sampling. With an array of beverages to choose from, attendees ranging from craft connoisseurs to those just beer-curious are sure to find a brew that fits their taste.
“Any time a beer festival offers over 200 different types of beers to try, attendees — whether you’re someone who is just getting into craft beer or you have extensive craft beer experience — it’s going to be a great time,” said Danny Aller, co-founder of the Tallahassee Beer Society, a craft beer collective that covers the local scene and assists in organizing local festivals. “There is so much variety, it is impossible to not leave with a dozen new favorite beers. So, if you find one you don’t like, pour it out and move on. That’s the beauty of unlimited sampling. And conversely, if you find one you love, go back for seconds — or even thirds.”
While many breweries native to the state or the Southeast will be traveling to the capital city to be part of the festival, members of Tallahassee’s growing craft brewing scene will also use the event to their advantage.
“Beer festivals are always a great way to meet customers and present our products,” said Nick Walker, co-owner of Ology Brewing Company in Midtown. “As a craft enthusiast myself, it’s always fun to try so many different beers and talk to the people that work at the brewery.”
The local craft beer community continues to grow as breweries such as Ology, Proof Brewing Company, Lake Tribe and DEEP Brewing Company continue to enter the market and expand their offerings with brewery tours, taprooms, local retail distribution, and direct-to-consumer sales online.
According to Ben Graybar, the festival founder and head organizer, a record 2,000 tickets have been sold between general admission and VIP, constituting a sold-out event. Despite no tickets being available at this time, discounted late arrival tickets will begin being sold around 4:45 Sunday at the Civic Center entrance as early attendees begin to file out. All proceeds from the event will go to the United Partners for Human Service, an umbrella organization comprised of more than 180 service agencies and non-profits.
Following the previous postponement and due to the continuing risk of COVID-19, multiple safety measures have been put in place by organizers including expanded use of the entire Civic Center space, allowing guests to bring their own tasting cups, and more. With reduced local transmission rates and increased safety protocols, both vendors and attendees feel confident about and look forward to reuniting with their fellow aficionados in one of America’s growing craft beer hubs.
“We’re definitely happy the festival is happening,” Walker said. “We’ve been attending beer festivals around the world over the past two months as a team, and have had a great time representing Tallahassee.”