Liquor commission seeks beer festival partner

Ryan Ross
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David Malahoff, raises his glass to toast the Prince Edward Island Beer Festival in this Guardian file photo. In September the province saw two competing beer festivals with similar names held only a few weeks apart: the P.E.I. Beer Festival and the P.E.I. International Beer Festival.

The P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission is looking for a partner to start a new beer festival to be held in Charlottetown this fall.

Jamie MacLeod, a spokesman for the commission, said it means that unlike last year, no one else will be able to hold a beer festival in P.E.I.

“We won’t approve them,” he said.

In September the province saw two competing beer festivals with similar names held only a few weeks apart: the P.E.I. Beer Festival and the P.E.I. International Beer Festival.

Charlottetown businessman Campbell Webster ran the P.E.I. Beer Festival for a second year as a standalone event held at the Delta Prince Edward.

The P.E.I. Brewing Company organized the international beer festival as part of the Fall Flavours Festival at the concert site in Charlottetown.

But this year the liquor control commission issued a request for proposals looking for a contractor to organize, manage and partner with the commission on a new beer festival.

Under the criteria for the proposal, the contractor will organize and supervise the festival, while the commission will provide promotional material and own the event’s website.

The commission will be able to renew the contract with the successful party on annual basis, provided there is a satisfactory performance evaluation.

Under the proposal, the contractor will have to maintain a minimum $5 million in commercial general liability insurance and a further $1 million automobile liability.

MacLeod said the commission went through the same process with its wine festival this year, which will be run by a private partner.

Versatile Management Group was the successful bidder for the wine festival with a $16,000 bid.

MacLeod said the two beer festivals in 2012 was one of the factors in seeking a partner in 2013 and one of the comments it got from beer suppliers last year was that they didn’t know which beer festival to support.

Although private entities organized last year’s festivals, MacLeod said the commission put a lot of work into them because it had to help get suppliers.

“At the end of the day and even with a joint venture it’s still us, the liquor commission, who has to finalize and order the product listing that came in,” he said.

The commission expects the new beer festival to be held in early September or October and MacLeod said it won’t be part of this year’s Fall Flavours Festival.

For Webster, he said a liquor commission official told him last year about the plan to put out a request for proposals.

“I think that’s a great idea,” Webster said.

He also said he plans to submit a proposal for this year’s festival.

“We loved doing it and we’re supporters.”

Webster said he agreed with the commission’s decision to have only one beer festival in the province.

“It makes more sense to have one,” he said.

The closing date for the request for proposals is April 23.

Organizations: P.E.I. Liquor Control Commission, Delta Prince Edward, P.E.I. Brewing Company Versatile Management Group

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • private
    March 28, 2013 - 01:31

    ast year was that they didn’t know which beer festival to support.provided there is a satisfactory performance evaluation.

  • Peiguy
    March 25, 2013 - 09:24

    I don't get the reason the gov't is getting involved here! Whats the point?? Two different well attended functions? two different dates, Lots of beer bought and sold. Happy Islanders and visitors on two different weekends renting hotel rooms and eating at Charlottetown restaurants. If the creation of fewer events and less attendance is their goal.. shame on the Commission for even suggesting it. Are they trying to squeeze out the big beer companies in favor of the local brands?? Hmmm a form of protectionism ( How American of you!)

  • johnny cash
    March 24, 2013 - 19:16

    Can anyone say murphy?

  • Jeff L.
    March 24, 2013 - 18:59

    Hey Bill Kays. Here's a question for you. Do you ever have anything positive to say about anything?

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    March 24, 2013 - 16:00

    MONOPOLISTIC PATRONAGE. They saw that there is money to be made in beer festivals so what do they do? They will do what they always do. Make no mistake, the person who ends up holding this festival will be connected in some way to government. Everything this gov does is top down, that's because they do not see anyone at the bottom. Instead of opening up the beer festivals to open competition they are showing their true colors. Why isn't our government doing for its poor what they and many NGO's do for third world countries. I am talking about micro loans. If they really want to help the poor why do we not see programs set up to help the poorest get a leg up instead of the ones that already have. Give our poor a chance to really do something productive. If ACOA can lend big money why aren't they mandated to lend small money?

  • beer drinker
    March 24, 2013 - 14:08

    I'll be a partner, as long as they supply the beer, I will drink it. That' an excellent sounding partnership.