Letter: Beer festival is not a money-making machine

IN a letter to The Courier, the directors of the Ballarat Beer Festival say it is not a "money-making machine".

THE Ballarat Beer Festival, now in its third year of operation, is committed to promoting craft beer from around the country, and also the region, hence the festival’s name.

Our pricing structure is almost identical to that of other beer festivals around. We offer the brewers $1 per token, Geelong also offers the brewers $1 per token. The beat-up that brewers do better at the Geelong event is inaccurate and simply incorrect.

We don’t make a cent off the stall fee because this goes towards each brewer’s marquee, cool rooms, generators, a semi trailer full of ice and BBF brewing staff (which no other festival provides).

As a dedicated boutique festival, the costs borne by the BBF are huge: the grand marquee, the bands, the brewer marquees, the insurance, the security, toilets, over 100 paid staff on the day and so on and so on.

And please bear in mind we do this without a major sponsor. We have tried for some time now to find a major sponsor with whom we can partner to promote this event and the region. Securing a major sponsor means we could reduce our overheads and reduce the cost to exhibiting brewers.

But let’s get one thing straight: the Ballarat Beer Festival is far from a river of gold for the organisers.

In the three years the event has run, the financial return, when broken down over the working hours, toil and risk we directors invest, is nowhere commensurate with the profit myth being peddled.

We bust our guts for very little financial reward

In fact we are supremely confident that your hourly rate is more than ours for this event.

Profit is not what drives us. We do this event for love and for the fierce pride we have in Ballarat, the region, and the industry.

We are proud of the festival and what it does for the city, craft beer, local wineries, cider creators and local food establishments.

We are proud the festival injects a seven-figure sum into the local economy.

We’re proud of our relationships with key charities and not-for-profits, to whom we donate thousands of dollars in exchange for their vital assistance in providing volunteers.

We’re proud of our friends and families who support us through the thousands of hours it takes to produce Victoria’s favourite and original beer festival.

And lastly, we’re proud of ourselves.

We’re proud of what we do for Ballarat and the industry we love. We bust our guts for very little financial reward (despite the myth that the BBF is amoney-making machine, which is just laughable) and we love every minute of it because we bloody well love producing the best beer event in Victoria.

Simon Coghlan, Lyndal Pond, Kate Burrows and Tim Kearney. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Simon Coghlan, Lyndal Pond, Kate Burrows and Tim Kearney. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER


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