For years, JR Phillips and Mike Pfankuch, members of the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Club, had discussed with other members, the ways they could capitalize on their passion for San Diego’s craft beer to pursue their goals: building camaraderie amongst members and the greater community, supporting their philanthropic efforts, and providing a good time for the people of San Diego and beyond. Eventually, they formulated a plan for an event that would become the first annual Carlsbad Brewfest. And since it began in 2014, the tasting fair has continued to grow while staying true to its mission of providing fun, friendship, and funding for the charitable work of the Rotary club.
The Third Annual Carlsbad Brewfest will take place Saturday, September 10. Building off their experience running local Oktoberfest events for decades, JR and Mike, the current co-chairs of the Brewfest, discovered that their brewers preferred the relaxed feel of a manageable crowd size where everyone is free to leisurely discuss and learn about the beers and the brewing process. Meanwhile, for the patrons, the organizers have worked to provide a comfortable venue with better access to shade, grass, chairs and water in addition to turning up the fun by expanding the game area to include activities like giant Jenga™, musical chairs, and flying tortilla.
Their work has paid off, and the event has grown, from 400 attendees to 1000, to an expected draw for 2016 of 1500 attendees, 32 breweries (including New Belgium, Green Flash, Karl Strauss and many more), four gourmet food trucks and live music. And with every extra dollar of funding, they’ve been able to give more back to the community. As for the future of the event, JR wants to see, “First and foremost, that the craft beer industry in San Diego continues to thrive while our Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Club is thriving, and be able to utilize 100% of the monies raised to help far more families, kids, and veterans…a tall order!”
The Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary is also delighted to be hosting the event in beautiful Holiday Park to ensure it feels like they’re bringing together people in a “Park, not a Parking Lot!” Moreover, the central location allows attendees to access the event by car, foot, train, or even bike. Designated drivers can get a massive discount on the price of a ticket if they want to participate while working to ensure that everyone gets home safely.
Asked to sum up what was so important about Carlsbad Brewfest, JR says, “Most important is that we are focused on not just raising money. We believe we must deliver an event that is beneficial to all involved if we want to sustain it long term.” Surely the patrons, brewers, and Rotarians participating in this thriving event agree this local treasure is a great experience that’s only getting better!