Vancouver, Washington’s largest beer festival was set to hold their Spring Brewfest in Esther Short Park this April but today canceled the event. Organizer/owner Cody Gray sighted concerns over the Coronavirus effecting attendance and has instead decided to focus on the Summer Vancouver Brewfest in August. But is this a savvy move or a negative indicator for Coronavirus’s looming effect on the beer industry?
“With all the uncertainty and some countries closing schools, some countries limiting public gatherings to less than 1,000 (Switzerland just announced this morning), and the limited fundraising that takes place at spring I had to make a decision since we are only 45 days out,” said Gray in an email. “Currently we have incurred very minimal costs attributed to Spring but if we continued much longer those would quickly pile up. The most we have been able to raise at spring is $7,500 because we only get about half the attendance as the summer for multiple reasons. I don’t want to lose the charity money we have in the bank and it seems the risk far outweighs the potential reward.”
It’s a scary time for business and large events, and it leaves us wondering if other beer festivals will take similar precautions. Oregon so far has no confirmed cases of Coronavirus aka COVID-19 and Washington has just one case in Snohomish County. (UPDATE: Washington now has 2 new Coronavirus cases and Oregon has 1). This leaves many questions regarding why it was necessary to cancel the festival and if the decision will have a chilling effect on the craft beer business by stoking fears that keep customers away.