New organizers cancel Craft Lager Festival, citing a lack of breweries, planning

Categories: Beer Man

CraftLagerFest.jpg
Craft Lager Festival Facebook page
The brand new owners of the popular Craft Lager Festival -- which has taken place in the Manitou Springs area for eleven years -- announced this week that they have canceled the event this August because of poor planning and a lack of available breweries.

"We only got eleven signups; a lot of the breweries had already made prior commitments for that weekend," says Johnny Walker, the executive director of the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Foundation, which was supposed to run the fest for the first time this year.

See also: Photos: Burning Can beer fest brought beer, outdoor games and funds to Lyons

"We were a bit late with our invitations as well. Mistakes were made. Deadlines were missed. As a result of that, instead of trying to pull it off and having an inferior event, we decided to pull the plug and bring it back next year to the level it was meant to be at."

The announcement was made on Facebook, and it frustrated some fest-goers, a few of whom had already purchased their tickets.

The news also shocked festival founder Julian Heron, who created the Craft Lager Festival eleven years ago as a way to donate money to military charities; after running and organizing it for all of those years, he gifted the event -- including the name, bank accounts, equipment and intellectual property -- to Pikes Peak or Bust last year.

"I was as surprised as anyone to find out about it," he says, adding that the new organizers had posted a Facebook message just two weeks ago saying, "We will definitely be having the festival this year," and listing the date, August 9.

Heron believes that Walker underestimated the amount of time and effort that go into planning a festival which, at its height, involved more than fifty breweries and distilleries and attracted upwards of 10,000 people. (The 2013 version was smaller because it had to be rescheduled and moved following a flood in Manitou Springs.)

"Saying that they couldn't get enough vendors is not, in my mind, the real issue. We've held it in the second week of August for eleven years, so most of the breweries already had it on their calendar," Heron says. "I think they failed in the execution."

Wallker didn't really disagree. "This thing is a monster, and I didn't see it coming," he says. "By the time I put together a crew, a lot of time had passed."


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23 comments
Brian McElvy
Brian McElvy

Could it be that alcohol is becoming like cigarettes? Gross nasty and unhealthy not to mention...who wants to be around a bunch of drunks? A bunch of other drunks.

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

Maybe because there's a million events like this one and breweries can only attend so many.

Paul Clancy
Paul Clancy

Because they are all on the " IPA" wagon

Randall Wheeler
Randall Wheeler

Denver lacks motivation. Why is anyone surprised by this...lol

Ryk McDorman
Ryk McDorman

Not surprised. I'd rather have ale than a lager any day.

Rob Jennings
Rob Jennings

Beer fests are the gayest things ever. Total fat guy sausage fests.

maxplanck0
maxplanck0

Given the lager's long held predominance in beer availability - paraphrasing Henry Ford's comment about " automobile color choices in the 1920s: "You can have any kind of beer you want as long as it's a lager" - the lack of interest here is not a surprise.

Justin Vonesh
Justin Vonesh

No Denver is a great place to hang out with Mary Jane ;)

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

The Hipster Fad of "craft brewing" has jumped the shark.

jbhowat
jbhowat

@DonkeyHotay fad? Hahaha. If anything macro-lager is a fad that started in the last 100 years and is now dying a slow death. 


milleralexjames
milleralexjames

@jbhowat @DonkeyHotay Don't feed the trolls. He doesn't even believe what he writes.


Shame, sounds like a fun festival. Here's to better times next year!

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