Ever since the first “Beers of the World” five years ago, Bear Creek Services’ perennially popular fundraiser has catered to an ever-expanding beer-loving crowd.
This should come as no surprise. This is beer we’re talking about.
It explains why “Beers of the World” this year is moving to a more commodious venue, the Exhibit Hall at Mayo Civic Center (not on the construction end of the center). It will be held Saturday, Sept. 12, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. for general admission ticket-holders. VIP tickets include admission to the event, plus a one-hour pre-tasting of specialty beers from 2 to 3 p.m.
Previous “Beers'” events had been held at the Ramada Event Center, which worked out fine when it was drawing 150 to 200 beer drinkers, as it did in its first year. But last year, people were turned away as the number of attendees has climbed to about 800, and this year’s goal is to reach 1,000 people.
“It just seems like there’s a lot of interest,” said Pam Alberts, Bear Creeks’ operations event coordinator. The Exhibit Hall, she said, will provide the space to spread out the tables, so people can drink and chat with the vendors about the beers they are drinking.
“We went to a bigger event hall, because the vendors really offer the education, the information people want,” Alberts said.
The event will feature 100 different beers from 20 different countries along with limited samples of spirits and wines. Along with “Wines of the World,” which is held every February, “Beers” constitutes the agency’s primary fundraisers.
The event owes its popularity to the cause it serves, Bear Creek Services, which for nearly 40 years has served and assisted people with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries. All the net proceeds from the event go straight to Bear Creek to support facilities improvements, such as handicapped accessible bathrooms and walk-in showers, Alberts said.
“People out there believe in our mission and want to support that — and drink beer at the same time,” Alberts said. “You can’t beat that.”
Bear Creek also is incentivizing people to learn more about their mission by offering a coupon code to use for the event. Just go to bearcreekservices.org and type in “beer15″ and get $5 shaved from the ticket price. (General admission tickets cost $35 if purchased by Labor Day and $40 afterward. VIP tickets are $45 purchased by Labor Day and $50 after Labor Day. Designated driver tickets cost $10.”
It has proven to be a potent combination: Harnessing people’s enjoyment of beer in the service of helping others.
“We have a raffle at the event. It makes people really understand that I’m buying these raffle tickets not just to win a prize, but it’s helping people,” Alberts said. “And we have some great prizes.”