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A tasty draw for the off season

New event hopes to draw beer lovers to Spa City in the winter

The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the organizers of Saratoga Festivals host a kick-off event for the first annual Beer Week being held Feb.22 to Feb. 25.

The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the organizers of Saratoga Festivals host a kick-off event for the first annual Beer Week being held Feb.22 to Feb. 25. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— Visitors to and residents of Saratoga Springs will have a new reason to visit the city’s many bars and taverns come February.

The Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the organizers of Saratoga Festivals will be sponsoring the first annual Saratoga Beer Week, although it will actually last just three days from Feb. 22 to 25. In time, organizers say the event will grow to a full week as the event gains more recognition.

“It’s just another way for us to create tourism at a slow time of the year,” said one of the organizers from Saratoga Festivals, Garth Ellms. The party planning company also hosts Octobeerfest and Saratoga Beerfest so it was only natural for the group to be involved with the new endeavor.

The event is meant to promote local and craft brews, while attracting people to the city in the off season.

Todd Garofano, president of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau, said they thought of adding another beer event to Saratoga because of the growing popularity of beer tastings, much like with wine. He said more and more people are becoming beer connoisseurs and each year the hobby of crafting beer gains additional interest from amateurs looking to break into the business.

“Wine and food festivals are very big right now and coming to Saratoga in itself is a draw,” he said. “We’re looking to do something similar with this event.”

Ellms said Saratoga Beer Week is six months in the making, and tickets went on sale at a kick-off event at Saratoga Tavern on Thursday, Dec. 22.

The three-day event will feature four seminars from professionals across the country, food pairings, a “Meet the Brewers” night, a beer summit for brewers and will end with an international beer tasting event on Sunday with more than 125 different beers available. In addition, 25 local businesses will participate in the festival by offering discounts and specials.

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