26 Oct Thanks to Everyone Who Came out to the 2021 Indiana On Tap Festivals – Here’s What’s in Store for 2022
by Mark E. Lasbury for Indiana On Tap
Wow, 2021 has been a fantastic year for craft beer festivals! Events all over Indiana and across the Midwest have demonstrated the degree to which people were ready to get back outside (or manageably inside) to drink again with their friends and their favorite breweries/distilleries/wineries.
Indiana On Tap wants to take a few minutes to thank all the Hoosiers (and those from outside the state) who came to the festivals we manage and organize, as well as to the municipalities and groups who own, support, and sponsor the events. Likewise, no craft beverage festival would be possible without the vendors who come, at no small cost to themselves, to serve samples of their beers, wines, and spirits.
Let’s take a look at the festivals with which we were affiliated this year and take a sneak peak at 2022:
Savor Lebanon Festival (coming up on May 7, tickets at SavorLebanon.com) – Our previous record crowd was doubled this year as the City of Lebanon smartly moved this festival from indoors in February to outdoors on the first weekend of May. Hosting it on courthouse Square was a brilliant decision and we think it will grow again for 2022.
Duke Tomatoe & the Power Trio played the main stage to a great crowd, while DJ 3pm mixed tunes on the south side of the square, with the courthouse blocking the sound so each had clean air. Look for a third stage in 2022, with the School of Rock of Zionsville coming in to provide some local talent. More than 25 alcohol vendors served unlimited samples to the crowd of 1000 and this Saturday was a reminder as to the popularity of bottle sales at out events.
Local small businesses and local artists came into provide unique opportunities for the attendees and the food vendors also included local choices. For 2022, look for more food vendors and for them to be placed more towards the heart of the festival. Finally, the footprint, the number of vendors, and the number of entertainment/activity choices will all be increased for 2022, so look for this festival to grow considerably for its second year on the square.
“Not So” Frigid Digits Festival (coming up on Feb. 19, tickets at FrigidDigitsFest.com) – Due to the pandemic, Centerpoint Brewing wisely chose to move this festival to early June. All the great features of the festival were still there, even the ice luge, but the heaters weren’t needed in 2021. To say the day was hot has double meaning, since the weather was warm and the beer samples were on fire.
The Fowling Warehouse, SoChatti Chocolate, and 8th Day Distillery were all on hand since they are CCIC neighbors of Centerpoint, and this was a wonderful addition, as they will be coming to almost all of our festivals in 2022. Crazy Horse Hops from Knightstown also came in to talk to vendors and attendees about what they have to offer and how they help the Indiana craft beer industry, so look for Indiana On Tao to do more of this kind of entertainment/education in 2022.
The crowd was great for the June 2021 event, but 2022 looks to have truly Frigid Digits again. The festival will be held on Feb. 19th, and the ticket sales are already outpacing the 2021 festival. We’ve already got more breweries signed up for the festival than we had attend the 2021 addition, including some great additions, like Afterburner Brewing from Terre Haute and Guggman Haus Brewing from Indy.
Anderson On Tap (coming up on June 25, tickets at AndersonOnTap.com) – The growth of this festival for 2021 was astounding, both in terms of the crowd and the numbers of vendors. Over 35 alcohol vendors came to give out samples and make bottle sales. Dickmann Town Center was full with people drinking and vendors, so for 2022 we will be expanding the footprint considerably.
The number of artists and local craftspeople was also increased for 2021, with everything from upcycled clothes to jewelry to handmade candles. This festival has more a street fest feel than any of our other festivals and I think it is one reason that the crowd will top 1500 in 2022.
Anderson On Tap 2021 was the first time we invited Dal Forno Pizza to serve at one of our events – both the attendees and vendors called it one of our best decisions. We hope Mike and his crew will be back with us several times in 2022. Look for additional food at Anderson in 2022, as well as another music stage and Password Reset. Look that band up, they killed at Tipton On Tap this year and will rock Anderson next year.
Tipton On Tap (coming up on June 4, tickets at TiptonOnTap.com) – The city of Tipton approached us early in 2021 for a festival that would highlight their downtown and give their residents a different kind of entertainment. The city fathers were adamant town was not as small as it appeared and that people would come out to support the festival – boy were they right!
Over 900 people bought tickets for this first year event, so many that we had to mark the event sold out a couple days prior to the festival. We had a local artist doing a mural during the festival, a local rock music school playing the entire time, and of course Password Reset on the big stage as mentioned above.
It will be a necessity in 2022 to increase the size of the festival, the number of food vendors, the number of music stages, and certainly the number of alcohol vendors. One thing we don’t want to change is the bubbly vibe of the event and all the local artists, businesses, and groups that have really taken ownership to make this festival a success.
Rushville Libations by the Levee (coming up on July 16, tickets at RushvilleLibations.com) – The city moved the festival under the trees a couple of years ago, and this event has been a great summer party ever since. In 2021, the music was stepped up with Kassey King, Andrew Vaughn, and the Sam Green Trio all playing at the same time in different corners of the festival. Look for the music to be stepped up even further in 2022, with acts that have played with international stars and perhaps a recent TV star as well.
Having the vendors under the trees and around the park is a great advantage for this festival. There is always a gentle breeze and shade which is good for a hot July day. Along with being as much a music festival as a beer festival, this is the festival where people are the most laid back; attendees bring their lawn chairs and blankets and have a true “outing” for the afternoon.
The 2021 event had more local involvement than in years prior, and for 2022 should have even more, including more local food, more local artists and more local small businesses. While not a huge festival, the 2021 event increased the attendee number by about 15%, and we look to do the same in 2022.
Brookville On Tap (coming up on Aug. 6, tickets at BrookvilleOnTap.com) – This may have been the event that surprised me the most in 2021. Third Place Tavern and Event Center in Brookville hosted a great event, with indoor and outdoor booths, and a beer garden with the stage up above for the band. It seemed to bring this small town together for a reunion kind of atmosphere, as well as draw in many people Indy and central Indiana who have vacation homes or campsites down there.
As an example of the town getting behind the festival, Tebbe Liquors worked with several of the vendors to bring their products into their package shop just down the street from the festival, and they also supplied a good number of volunteers to pour beer from out of state – Goose Island, Rhinegeist, Braxton, BrewDog, Bell’s, etc.
The pizza was included in the ticket price for VIPs and Third Place Tavern makes some great pizza. That alone was a great addition to the festival trail in 2021, but one of the things I liked best about Brookville On Tap is that while it has some room to grow, this will never be a huge festival, which gives it a different feel and vibe from other festivals. Look for additional vendors and perhaps 200-300 more attendees in 2022; I’m really looking forward to it.
Hops & Coaster Drops (coming up on weekend of Sept. 10) – There isn’t much more that can be said about this festival that the attendees haven’t already been saying. It came out of nowhere in 2021 and sold out in just a few weeks, but we’re telling you now that the 2022 festival will be on the weekend of Sept. 10, so keep an eye out for a “tickets on sale now” post and get yours right away.
The 2022 festival will be bigger and better, more out of state breweries (Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, and Kentucky), with about 130 vendors on hand for unlimited samples. We look to add additional wineries and cideries to balance out the great beer and spirits, and of course the rides will be on deep into the night for those that stick around for the bands and the afterparty.
The 5000 attendees from 2021 will be joined by a few more in 2022, but the layout will be expanded to include kiddie land, the splash pad (without the water on), and the ballroom, so that the boardwalk will be much more open and the food area won’t be nearly as crowded. Look for booths to spread out among the new rides as well, new coasters, aerial rides, and more.
Lagers in Lawrence (coming up on Sept. 24) – The two keys to the success for the Lagers this year were: 1) a new park venue, 2) weiner dogs. The Fort Ben Cultural Campus boasted rolling lawns, gardens, musical swings, more room than our previous site, and plenty of room to grow. The weiner dog races were the hit of our festival season, with enthusiastic participants and even more ecstatic fans.
Both of the above items led to huge growth in the festival and an interest in vendors who usually don’t come out to festivals. We had over 1200 people there this year, along with several Fort Wayne breweries. The entertainment at this event is always the best, from German folk dancers to an oompah band to the stein holding contest. For 2022, look for additional participation events and even more alcohol vendors from around the state. Breweries and distilleries are already asking about the date for this festival, so it on your calendar.
Conclusion – None of these festivals would have been possible without the small businesses that come to show their wares, the musicians that entertain, the marketing graphics and the great logos from Barton Lewis, the food trucks that serve food, the sponsors that support local, the cities that own the events, or the volunteers that come work to make them a success. Every festival is a community event and survives on the enthusiasm of the city and the area around it. It’s working, since for 2022 there may be as many as three additional municipalities that could bring festivals to their central Indiana towns.
Indiana On Tap thanks all the craft beer fans that come out to support Indiana craft beverage producers. And most importantly we completely understand how difficult it is for craft beverage producers to come to festivals and we thank them for continuing to participate. They have to provide product, labor, transportations, and time to these events, and they do it knowing that they lose money on the deal. What we/they hope is that the attendees will search out products from these producers and carry their enthusiasm even further to go visit them. Only through increased future patronage do these events make sense for the vendors.
If you want more festivals with more vendors – make sure to support the vendors year-round that come out to pour samples.