The craft beer boom has led to the birth of a new beer-centric event management company and a new local beer festival.
The 100 Mile Beer Fest is scheduled Oct. 7 at Lakeside Farms in Ballston Lake and will feature breweries from a 100-mile radius of the farm.
Proceeds will benefit Friends of Clifton Park Open Space, whose mission is close to the heart of Scooter Clifford, head of Lupulin Events, which is organizing the event.
Clifford said there are no fewer than 152 breweries within the 100-mile radius of Lakeside. To keep things at a manageable scale during what is the first event Lupulin has ever staged for itself, he has 25 breweries on the roster to attend, ranging from big to small, well-known to obscure — in short, the full range of diversity in the craft beer industry.
“It’s kind of unique to see the different breweries that are being highlighted,” he said.
New York’s craft beer industry has grown rapidly with the popularity of the market segment, and with the implementation of favorable tax policies by the state. Clifford is happy to see the growth of New York breweries, but he also hopes that people who want to drink local products (he is one of them) don’t overlook the beer being produced a few dozen miles away in western New England.
“Quite often, what is overlooked is the proximity to other states,” he said, so some people think “they’re foreign, they're not our neighbors.”
He aims to correct that by including some brewers that are not from New York but do exist within 100 miles of Ballston Lake.
In a slightly ironic twist, there won’t be any hard cider producers at Lakeside for the Beer Fest. He hopes to include them next year.
Lupulin Events takes its name from the substance that gives hops their bitter taste. The reference to lupulin is likely to be lost on anyone other than a serious beer aficionado … someone like Clifford, who is the former tasting room manager and marketing director at Shmaltz Brewing Co. in Clifton Park.
He doesn’t play favorites.
“I like every beer style,” he said. “For me it’s the craftsmanship and the passion behind each glass that moves me.
“My favorite beer is usually the one that’s in my hand.”
Freshness does count, Clifford said, comparing beer to fresh baked bread.
“I try to always drink what’s local. The closer the better, and the fresher, I find, as well.”
Clifford worked for Meg’s Events last year in Vermont, and learned a lot about event planning from owner Megan Schultz. In March, he came up with the idea for his own beer-centric event-planning business. He formed an LLC in May and launched the Lupulin Events website in July.
The 100-mile Beer Fest will be the first event Lupulin has staged for itself, though it has done events for other customers. Other specialties include brewery tours and beer-themed birthday parties.
Ciifford’s other job is stay-at-home dad to a 3-year-old daughter, also in Clifton Park.
He said the Oct. 7 event will showcase brewers as much as beers -- they’ll be pouring their products and interacting with the crowd.
If you go
100 Mile Beer Fest
WHEN: 2-6 p.m. Oct. 7
WHERE: Lakeside Farms, 336 Schauber Road, Ballston Lake
FEATURED: 25 brewers from within 100-mile radius
TASTING: 4-ounce samples
SHUTTLES: Free from Guilderland, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady
FOOD: Three vendors
BENEFITS: Friends of Clifton Park Open Space