The Cowichan Craft Beer & Food Festival is returning to Chemainus on Saturday, Aug. 13 under the auspices of the Chemainus Business Improvement Association.
The festival will host a large selection of Vancouver Island and B.C. regional breweries plus a selection of artisan food pairings from within the Cowichan Valley and Chemainus. The event hasn’t been held since 2017 and was postponed the last two years due to the pandemic so organizers are thrilled to have it back.
“An event of this magnitude is typically held in a larger market like Victoria or Vancouver, and we are so excited to see it return to our wonderful little town,” said CBIA executive director Krystal Adams, who’s serving in the same capacity for the festival.
Regarding possible concerns with further restrictions again later this year, “as long as we have a place to host it, with beer to serve, and people wanting to come, we are willing to find a way to make it safe for people to attend in whatever capacity is safest,” she added. “People are aching to return to events such as these and it’s exciting to be welcoming them back into Chemainus.”
The festival is unique in the Cowichan Valley because its focus, aside from food, is exclusively on the craft beer movement and will not involve any major breweries, Adams stressed.
“We are working with the BC Craft Brewers Guild as a guild recommended event which only a few B.C. wide festivals are sanctioned,” she noted.
The last festival was the second largest craft beer event by variety of beer on the Island. There were 30 breweries in attendance, each bringing three beer varieties to try. Numerous artisan food vendors were also on hand.
“The event was so popular and well-received that we are still fielding requests years later to see its return,” Adams indicated. “We will not disappoint and we will be enhancing with additional live music, seating areas and big games for a little extra fun. To ensure the atmosphere continues to feel like a festival within these times with additional safety protocols in place for COVID, much diligence is being taken in the planning stage.
“We will be hiring a dedicated coordinator to work hand-in-hand with myself to manage the fine details that are in the hundreds of items for events such as this.”
Organizers will also be working with multiple transportation companies from Duncan, Nanaimo and Victoria/Langford to secure shuttles to and from the event.
The exact venue location and ticket information is yet to be announced.
Supporting partners are also being lined up, such as Riot Brewing Co. as the hometown brewery.
“I don’t even know if we remember how to do them (festivals), it’s been so long,” joked Riot Brewing’s Ralf Rosenke.
“It’s exciting that Krystal and the BIA are bringing this event back. It’s a lot of fun and we’re constantly being asked about it.”
“It’s nice to have one in your hometown here, your own stomping grounds,” said Riot’s Aly Tomlin.
“Chemainus has always been a welcoming and relaxing place to visit with friends and family known for our wonderful community events,” remarked Chris Istace, CBIA chair and owner of Beyond the Usual. “We feel fortunate after such a long hiatus of large community events to once again be able to host the Cowichan Beerfest and welcome people back to the friendly atmosphere of Chemainus.”
Past ticket holders will be given the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the event at a lower introductory ticket price before they’re available to the general public.
Each ticket will allow for entry into the festival as well as live music on the grounds, five tasting tokens, a commemorative keepsake and the opportunity to win a valuable door prize.