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Beer festival goes digital for San Diegans at home

beer in glass
Posted at 12:55 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 15:55:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diegans can enjoy a beer at home, but the experience of joining others for a pint is temporarily lost.

Brewery closures and gathering bans have prompted a new way to celebrate in the Capital of Craft: San Diego's first virtual beer festival.

The virtual celebration on April 25 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. will host tastings with brewers, performances by local bands, and interactive games.

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Participants sign up for a case of 10 special release beers and brewery swag, either delivered to homes or picked up locally. A video link will be sent to guests to follow along with guided tastings of each beer and entertainment, the latter of which is being kept a secret.

Ryan Austin, Director of Sales and Marketing with festival organizer Vegas Beverage Group, says participants won't feel like their watch a two-hour video by themselves.

"There's some interactive game play, you don't just want to watch 10 brewers give a tasting," Austin said. "You want some funniness to it, you want some entertainment value ... You're busy the whole time, you're not just sitting there on a YouTube video link."

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The festival also gives local brewers a way to make use of their inventory that might have otherwise gone to waste due to temporary closures.

"We reached out to some of them that we know have cans and availability that they're still kind of in production right now, and they jumped on top of it," Austin added. "Some of them already had stuff that they actually brewed and they were going to keg, but then the whole lock down happened."

Now, fans can socially distance together over a cold one.

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Ten-packs are made for one to two people and a link to the virtual festival will be emailed to participants the day before the event for $30. Participants can either order online by the Thursday before the event, or pickup their beers at two locations. More information and tickets are available online here.

"They can do it in their living room, but we want to give them all those elements of a beer festival in one virtual experience," Austin said.