© Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
David Malahoff, one of the event’s organizers, raises his glass to toast the upcoming Prince Edward Island Beer Festival. The event, which is being held by Campbell Webster Entertainment this weekend, will have more than 40 varieties of beer for attendees to sample.
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.