Southern beer fans flock to scaled-back festival

Aaron and Katie Wilmshurst enjoyed a few quiet ales with Campbell and Raewyn King.

GLORIOUS weather showed up for the sold-out Great Little Beer Festival held at the Cabbage Tree restaurant in Otatara on Saturday.

Festival organiser Scott Whitaker said he was thrilled at the turnout for the day.

The festival had been organised in two sessions with 100 tickets sold for each session to enable it to stay within Covid-19 gathering rules.

He had chosen the restaurant venue as it provided an indoor wet weather option.

Boutique breweries, New New New and Noisy, from Dunedin, and Search Light, from Queenstown, had been invited to join and showcase their selection of ales and ciders.

“Each brewery has something a little different to offer,” he said.

Noisy Beer owner Chris Noye said he had jumped at the opportunity to be part of the event as others he had been planning to be involved with had been cancelled, leaving him with an over-supply of boutique beer and ale which needed to be sold.

New New New brewer Andrew Duke liked the format Mr Whitaker had chosen for the event, as the alcohol content of beer, ale and ciders being showcased were kept at the lower end of the scale as it reduced the chances of patrons becoming intoxicated.

People who had hosted events had had to adapt to survive the past two years, and he hoped there would be more festivals in the future format different from a more traditional model, he said.

“If you have a venue, we will come,” Mr Duke said.

Event patrons the Southland Express spoke to throughout the day were particularly impressed with the event with some buying tickets for both sessions.

All said they would be happy to support the event if it became an annual fixture.