Beer Fest provides economic boost

Although the main event is Saturday, the Mountain Brewers Beer Fest already is providing a boost for the Idaho Falls business community.

A growing number of breweries started arriving between Tuesday and Thursday to promote their brands, participate in competition judging and partner with local companies, event organizers said.

Representatives of the Alaskan Brewing Co., from Juneau, Alaska, already are participating in a beer event with MarCellars Vintage Wines and Brews.

“It’s important for us to get a sampling out there to support our customers,” Regional Sales Manager Michael Grandys said. “We’ve launched a number of new styles of beers and we get a lot of supporters up from Utah that come to try our beers because they can’t get it in Utah.”

Beer Fest helps fill local hotels, restaurants and even benefits regional tourism.

“(Some) area businesses say this is their biggest week of the year,” said Lisa Smith, vice president of the North American Brewers Association. “And I think a lot of people bring their families up here to take trips and vacations to Yellowstone.”

The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce and Grow Idaho Falls could not estimate exactly how many tourists come through Idaho Falls as a result of Beer Fest, but believe the number is significant.

Organizers expect 105

breweries total and about 7,000 people to attend the Saturday event at Sandy Downs.

“During the summer when you have a lot of visitors in the area, special events with big visibility are a draw not only for event promoters, but for all other businesses that are impacted,” Chamber of Commerce CEO Michelle Holt said. “Gas stations, hotels, shopping venues all benefit because when people are spending additional dollars here, it helps the economy as a whole.”