Embracing the unconventional fusion of 5K runs and craft beer festivals, the Craft Brew Races are a one-of-a-kind experience for any beer lover. The event began with a few venues five years ago, and today it’s a nationwide phenomenon with six stops ranging from Georgia to Massachusetts. Each stop on tour presents people with a different experience including unique beers, surroundings, and entertainment. All locations feature a fun 5K race where participants can run or walk their way to a finisher’s medal. Following the 5K run, attendees can participate in a three-hour craft beer festival which will feature a variety of beers from more than 30 local and regional breweries. Patrons will also have the chance to listen to live music by favorite local and regional acts, as well as play a variety of fun games like giant Jenga, corn hole, and more. A 5K run is sure to work up an appetite, which makes it a good thing the event will include a spectrum of favorite local food trucks and vendors serving up meals and treats. The price of admission includes all beer samples, and participants must be over 21 to attend. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Event Representative, Lisa McCurdy, to learn more about this unique experience.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
LM: The Craft Brew Race series started five years ago, and it has expanded ever since. We host an event in Savannah (GA), Portland (ME), Newport (RI), Worcester (MA), New Haven, (CT), and Stowe (VT). The event is unique as it’s the combination of two activities that many people don’t put together; a fitness event and a beer event! But, we found that a lot of runners do enjoy a delicious craft beverage, and a lot of craft beer drinkers like to get moving!
Each event has a unique flavor and experience based on the surrounding craft beer scene and the location itself. Every Craft Brew Race consists of a 5K run where runners or walkers earn a fun, unique finisher’s medal after completing the 3.1-mile course, followed by a three-hour craft beer festival that features 30-50 local and regional breweries at each location. For attendees, all samples are included for their entire session, and they get a take-home pint glass to boot! We also offer the option to attend the festival-only, as well as a ticket for designated drivers. The event is open to participants over 21 years old only (including DD’s.)
Altogether, the events draw more than 7,500 attendees each year. Some of the events are at smaller venues and therefore a little smaller, but the quality remains the same. Each event is unique because it’s heavily influenced by the craft beer scene in each city. We chose these six locations because of how vibrant the craft beer industry is there, and how many beer lovers there are in the area. So far, we’ve had the opportunity to feature some great local beer and help some new breweries get significant exposure. Unlike other brew festivals, we purchase the beer ourselves, and there are no booth fees for the breweries, which makes the event accessible to smaller and newer breweries, and gives our participants a chance to try some delicious, new beverages!
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
LM: The day starts off late, as far as road races go! Savannah begins at 2:00 pm, and the rest of our events this year will begin at noon — we’re test-driving a later start time in Savannah for 2018 to beat the heat! Runners and walkers start the race and follow a 3.1-mile course that finishes adjacent to the beer festival. Once runners collect their finishers medal, they’re welcome to enter the festival and enjoy all-inclusive beer samples from 30-50 breweries for the entire 3-hour session. Costumes are highly encouraged, so we see a lot of people getting creative with their group and individual costumes! We have a contest for the largest team, the fastest team, and the fastest brewery team, which creates an atmosphere of friendly competition. While the 5K is timed, it’s very laid back. We do give awards to the three fastest men and women, but every finisher gets a medal to celebrate their accomplishment!
We also sell tickets for the festival only, as well as tickets that include the 5K and a designated driver ticket (which doesn’t include beer but does include complimentary soft drinks and snacks!). Once inside the festival, participants have the opportunity to try samples from local and regional breweries and interface directly with the brewers. It’s a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with the local craft beer industry and people who are making these tasty beverages. We always have a great live music act, as well as food trucks or vendors selling delicious options. We bring along our giant Jenga sets, corn hole, and lots of other lawn games- we have some new ones up our sleeve this year! At the end of the festival, participants receive a custom-designed take-home pint glass (and an extra bottle of water, too!)
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
LM: We purchase all of the beer from the local breweries and don’t charge a booth fee, it’s an excellent opportunity to support small, local businesses. Participating companies can gain exposure and interface with their customers directly. Also, we choose a charitable pattern in each city and donate a portion of each registration fee directly to that organization. We’re all about supporting local causes and the community!
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
LM: We’ve had all sorts of groups come to our events - bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthdays, reunions; but we also get folks who come in small groups or even by themselves — the atmosphere is exciting. Everyone is there to have a good time, and we often see strangers become friends!
For more information about the Craft Brew Races, please visit the event website.