Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Record Crowds Fill DeVos Place During 7th Annual Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival

Written by  Paul Starr
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It was a banner year for attendance at the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival which was held November 20-22 at DeVos Place. According to Festival organizers, attendance was up nearly 10% meaning more than 18,500 individuals gathered at the largest wine and food festival in the Midwest.
In all, more than 1400 beverages were available for sampling (wine, beer, cider, mead, spirits, coffee and other specialty drinks). Nearly 20 area restaurants participated as well as countless culinary and lifestyle related exhibitors throughout the Riverfront Marketplace and RendezBREW Café. Most of the 60-plus workshops and seminars were at or beyond capacity throughout the three-day Festival as well.

“It’s all about tasting and this year’s festival took it up a notch with diverse exhibitors offering up the very best of their products,” says Dawn Baker, Festival Manager. “It was wonderful to see the excitement grow daily as people enjoyed the variety of beverages and foods featured, then learned to pair them together. This has become a true pre-holiday celebration for West Michigan and beyond.”

“The feedback I got from my group was that they loved the better signage at the booths this year and the FSU students seems more engaged and excited, which made visiting the booths much more fun,” says Lysandra French, a long-time festival attendee. “We loved that Meijer was two tickets for a great sample of food. Also loved the lobster mac and cheese, tried a new ice cream and visited the Brewers Loft. Some in my party said that the offerings were AMAZING. Kudos, this Festival get better and better every single year!”

“This year’s Wine, Beer, & Food Festival surpassed my expectations. We were ecstatic to see so many of our customers and potential customers come to look at innovation in a whole new light. Putting on a seminar to show the ways you can pair your favorite ice cream with beer and liquor was an eye opener for the audience—taking ‘thinking outside the box’ to a whole new level. The same customer who knows what it’s like to enjoy a premium craft beer made here in Michigan is the same customer who enjoys Hudsonville Ice Cream—small-batch crafted by our in-house artisans. We’ll definitely be back next year!” — Ray Sierengowski Hudsonville Ice Cream, Holland.

“Great show this weekend. We had a fun time and sold out of everything!” — Scott Hartmann, Two Scotts Barbecue, Grand Rapids.

"This being our first year at the festival gave us, as a new company, great exposure to consumers in a lot of different markets. The seminars acted as a great outlet for education as well. Both seminars we presented gave us access to over 50 people to share our brand and our story with. Over all a very well run festival."— Mark Fellwock, Coppercraft Distillery, Holland.

“AGA Marvel had a very exciting and engaging experience at this year’s show! We were very pleased at the reception of our new products. The Festival was the perfect platform to showcase the pride we take in manufacturing locally in Greenville, Michigan. AGA Marvel looks forward to another dynamic opportunity in 2015!” — Diane Devereaux, AGA Brand Manager, Greenville.

"We have always enjoyed participating in the International Wine, Beer and Food Festival, but were particularly impressed with how many new faces we encountered at the 2014 show. We loved the opportunity to share our food with so many new people, and to show the community what we have to offer." — Christian Madsen, Executive Chef, JW Marriott Grand Rapids

“We enjoyed meeting many of our fans - it has almost become an annual tradition. The really enjoyable part however was connecting with attendees that we had not met before. The Fest is one of the best opportunities we have to both educate our customers and to learn more ourselves.” — Don Coe, Black Star Farms, Suttons Bay

“Event marketing at its best. We were able to meet hundreds of new customers and visit with all of our loyal ones.” — Aaron Harr, Fenn Valley Vineyards in Fennville.

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Paul Starr

Paul Starr

Paul Starr is the creator of the I'm a Beer Hound and one of the organizer and the driving force behind Art & Craft Beerfest, Lansing Beer Fest, Beerfest at the Ballpark Spring & Fall. When he's not working on Beer Hound he's probably watching the Lions, Tigers or Red Wings. Being a recent new Dad of twins, he doesn't have much extra time these days for mischief.