Getting Crafty Despite COVID

More than 12,000 people are expected to attend Forsyth Barr Stadium for the Dunedin Craft Beer and Food Festival, an event that hasn’t been easy to prepare during a global pandemic.

Around 70 vendors will be offering craft beer, gin, wine, martinis and food at the event which has seen organisers stressed trying to prepare for any possible COVID Alert Level changes.

"For a long time we were sitting on the fence as to whether we were going to be able to do this or not, and tickets went on sale at the start of July so we had 10,000-11,000 tickets out there, and the majority of our vendors had confirmed as well," said event manager Jason Schroeder.

Schroeder added that to encourage North Island vendors to come, they dropped some vendor fees and tried to reduce their costs.

"We just kept an open dialogue with our suppliers and vendors and artists throughout the last six, eight, nine months. We made multiple plan b, c, d scenarios that we've worked through in case we dropped back to Level 2 or there are restrictions in Auckland but not the rest of the country."

Worried that the festival would only have 60 percent of the normal number of breweries represented, Schroeder is relieved that this has grown to around 90-95 percent. The event has also created an opportunity for smaller, local craft breweries and food vendors to get a foot in the door.

"It's kind of forced us to think rather than try and do stuff ourselves, 'how can we build stronger relationships with people who are experts in their fields' and bring that to the festival.”