CHARLESTOWN — Vendors prepared their tables as waiting participants gathered at Ninigret Park this past Saturday for the first annual Rhode Island Brew Fest. The event boasted more than 40 brewers, both locally-based and from points afar, bringing the community to better understand the beer choice that surrounds them.
“From our end, everything went really well,” said event organizer, Matt Gray. “All of our vendors were popular, and we had about 1,000 people at Ninigret Park throughout the course of the day.”
“Ninigret is the perfect venue [where] there is an opportunity for growth and a lot of ample parking,” he added.
More than 150 beer styles were on tap and, among Rhode Island brewers, Gray singled out Grey Sail Brewery in Westerly as one who helped out in setting up the event.
“[They were] really helpful of coordinating the initial discussions with the Rhode Island Brewers Guild and helping out with the initial phases early on,” said Gray.
Other Rhode Island brands included Newport Storm, Foolproof Brewing Company, Trinity Brewhouse and Narragansett Beer. The Rhode Island Brew Fest also boasted a number of regional brewers, such as Two Roads Brewing Company in Stratford, Conn. and Sebago Brewing Company of Maine.
“For the most part, we started with the Rhode Island-based brewers and food vendors, but we did bring in quite a few brewers from out of town,” said Gray. “It looks like there will be even more [next year].”
Gray was thankful to the event’s main sponsors, Beaches & Backroads Realty and GKT Refrigeration, and the town of Charlestown as well, stating that they all helped to make the process of establishing the brew fest as smooth as possible.
“The town was pretty helpful in ensuring the event was a success, and once the idea was put on the table, it became a big success,” said Gray. “A lot of the stuff was first year prep work to make it even easier to move forward.”
Now, Gray hopes that the brew fest can become even bigger next year.
“As the event continues to grow, we intend to have as many local vendors as possible, but will have vendors from around the country participating,” he said. “We look forward to it.”
For more information about Rhode Island Brew Fest and its next event in February, visit www.ribrewfest.com .