The 2016 edition of the Flatlander's festival was the largest and most successful beer fest to date. The festival featured a number of enhancements that generated positive feedback. One of the first changes included moving the festival from a Thursday-Friday evening format to a Friday-Saturday format, and introduced a third tasting Saturday afternoon. The overall Flatlander's event featured an expanded floor plan that incorporated half of the concourse and MTS Centre bowl, creating more space for the booths and patrons. In total, there were 77 booths, the highest to date. We incorporated a "Locals Section" of nine Manitoba breweries, six of which have just opened or are opening later this year. Flatlander's featured 244 beers and ciders - our highest ever compared to last year's 170 products.
Additionally, we introduced educational seminars to provide a more comprehensive educational experience to the beer enthusiasts, and to complement our new slogan "Learning Never Tasted So Good". The seminars were held in the Foundation room with seating for 60, reaching capacity for three out of the six seminars. Furthermore, 20 "Beer 101 Geeks" were trained by the MBLL and Manitoba Brewer's Association to roam the floor, and help patrons with their festival experience.
The on-site Liquor Mart store featured 32 products exclusive to the festival, and three products from local breweries. The MBLL was very pleased with over $10,000 in sales for the weekend. A VIP dinner was held for 60 people in the Exchange Restaurant. Chef Roger prepared a delicious three course dinner that incorporated beer into the recipes, while three local breweries paired the dishes with their brews.
In terms of the festival atmosphere, we had five food trucks to feed the masses along with a lounge area set up with couches and tables. We aired the NHL Draft on Friday night, then switching to the Bomber home opener. Saturday afternoon featured the Blue Jays game, rolling into the CFL games in the evening.
Prior to the actual Flatlander's festival, two pre-festival events took place. Wednesday's event hosted by the Manitoba Brewer's Association was held in Fort Garry Beer's parking lot and featured eight local breweries with 125 people attending at $25 a ticket. 100% of the proceeds will be donated back to the Winnipeg Jets True North Foundation (WJTNF). And on Thursday, Granville Island hosted a beer dinner at Barley Brothers with 32 people attending at $50 a ticket. 25% of the proceeds from that event will be donated to the WJTNF.
Special thanks to Allison Ferley who designed the program, Cliffy for his expertise and to Wendy and her team for managing the crowds superbly. Cheers to the best Flatlander's yet!
Click here to view the Photo Gallery from the 2016 festival! >