By Jessica Diamond
The Roswell Beer Festival is celebrating its seventh anniversary this March 23 with an event that is self-described as “not bigger, just better!” This year’s event is expected to sell out yet again, but the beer fest does not plan to increase its headcount in 2019. Rather, the event is kept intentionally intimate and exclusive to maintain quality of experience and keep visitors returning for years to come.
Ticket revenues completely cover the cost of the event, so 100% of donations from sponsors and other sources will go directly to the STAR House Foundation, a nonprofit after school program for at-risk youth.
The STAR House team has diligently recorded feedback each year and made adjustments to the festival to ensure a top-tier experience. Based on said feedback, this year’s festival will feature food from C&S Chowder House, 1920 Tavern, Peach & the Porkchop, The Mill Kitchen, Roux, and a handful of other Roswell favorites. The festival boasts 400 different kinds of beer, two live bands, and an opportunity to purchase the VIP Experience with access to an exquisitely furnished tent with unlimited food and drinks as well as access to private, luxury restroom facilities. What’s more, some of the featured beers are exclusive local brews that can only be found at the event.
Back by popular demand is the selection of beer fest merchandise, such as t-shirts, growlers, hats and more that can be purchased with festival tokens.
In many ways, the beer fest has stayed true to its roots, resisting the urge to conform to similar events in other areas that often stretch resources in an effort to pack in as many guests as possible. This small but mighty nonprofit team is determined to make the most of their success and optimize the reputation they’ve built to protect the longevity of the beer fest as a fundraiser.
“Our goal is always to be strategic about this event,” festival chair Jeff Bridges said. “We want to provide the best possible experience to maintain our reputation as one of the top beer festivals in the area. At the same time, we need to balance our primary goal of earning as much money for our STAR House kids as possible. We do this for them, and each dollar we earn will go directly into the program.”
The event is run entirely by STAR House board and staff members with help from more than 350 volunteers, amassing over 4,000 hours of service. This year’s festival is expected to raise $230,000 through generous sponsor support, which will provide hundreds of students with new program materials, computers, staff and more.
Each year, as demand grows, STAR House is forced to place at-risk students on a waiting list due to lack of resources. Profits from the beer fest allow the program to further execute its strategic plan to expand into more Roswell schools and provide more students with a safe and supportive after school learning environment. There are also plans in place to create a STAR House summer camp.
“We already see a huge amount of community support for the STAR House program,” Bridges said. “But the great thing about this festival is that it draws in those who may have never heard of it. We are appealing to a whole new audience each year, many of whom come from outside the community. This allows us to expand our reach. Also, it’s a pretty good bargain! You’re getting to try a lot of beer, much of it local craft beer and some of it exclusive to the event, for a very reasonable price.” Learn more about the the Roswell Beer Festival and purchase tickets for the event.