Beervana lures more visitors from afar

HAMISH MCNICOL
Last updated 07:09 03/09/2014

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Out-of-towners lured to Wellington for the Beervana festival have risen to about 43 per cent of participants, up from 35 per cent last year.

Beervana director David Cryer said 10,044 tickets had been sold, compared with 9491 last year.

Organisers had aimed for between 10,000 and 12,000, but poor weather and a rugby test had kept numbers down.

Wellington hotels enjoyed strong bookings, picking up on an otherwise quiet August.

On Friday and Saturday, August 22 and 23, Westpac Stadium held two four-hour drinking sessions daily, showcasing more than 250 craft beers and ciders from more than 60 breweries.

Punters last year spent about $2 million in the city during the two days, but Cryer did not yet have this year's figures.

"The weather and the rugby hit us a little bit," he said.

"The weather just nailed our walk-ups basically."

He said having fewer people led to a "really good vibe" because there was more room for people to get around and go to different bars.

This had pushed overall spending up slightly, with many telling him it was "the best Beervana ever".

"The big thing to remember about beer lovers is that they travel to taste fresh beer, unlike wine and spirits, which last forever, whereas beer ages quite rapidly," he said.

"So if you want to taste good quality beer, it's best to taste it at the brewery or in the town it was made."

Cryer said the new electronic payment system, which replaced tokens, was a success after some "teething issues" on the first morning.

"We've learnt a lot of lessons," he said. "The other lesson is to pray a lot harder for better weather."

The new system had tracked what festival-goers were buying - information that would be provided to brewers and food stalls, he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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