In the can
Canfest has been a growing Reno tradition since it started four years ago as a way to promote local canned beer brewer Buckbean. Since Buckbean shuttered its operation, Canfest has taken on a life of its own, headed up by Ty Whitaker and Constance Aguilar of the Abbi Agency. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door and can be purchased at Ticketmaster, Silver Legacy box office and Craft. Portions of Canfest benefit the Reno Bike Project. Visit www.canfestbeer.com for more details.
So tell me about Canfest.
We’re pretty stoked because this year, it’s all ours now since Buckbean exited the picture. We really like it. I really do love Canfest. I like all the communication we have with the brewers, everything that the event stands for. I like it because it’s different, too. I like beer events in Reno—don’t get me wrong—but besides Backwash, every beer event in Reno is basically an excuse for people to raise money for something and to party. Which is rad, but it’s like ‘You’re at Brewhaha, you’re at Beerfest, you’re at all the other beer events—Brews, Blues and Barbecues, it’s all beer you can buy here.” It’s nothing special. I can go to Ben’s, I can go to Save-Mart and get all of that beer. It’s cool because for a flat price, drink all you want, and it’s got the social aspect, and you have the warm fuzzy feeling that you’re benefiting the non-profit, but as far as actual beer events go, there’s nothing that’s like super-unique and super-niche-y. I love these brewers and like their beer, and everything about canned, just from how rad they look to how they process the beer. So bringing all those beers here is pretty cool.
How many brewers are involved?
How many brewers? We typically have about 30-35, and we get all the distributors to drop off their batches of the norms—Tacate, Heineken, Corona, all that good stuff.
Where is the event held?
It’s at the Reno ballroom—it’s that little guy between the Silver Legacy and the events center.
How many people usually show up?
I’m going to be safe with my prediction and say about 2,500.
Is that what you did last year?
It’s a little less than we did last year. The event has grown steadily every year, but the one thing is, this year we’re competing with Fantasies in Chocolate. I’m not too worried about that because I think we have totally different demographics. In the past, we’ve been on the same day as a UNR game, so that was our one goal this year was to not conflict with the game. I feel like we lose way more of our crowd to that than we will Fantasies in Chocolate.
So it’s this weekend?
It’s on the third. What we did this year was we brought in a new presenting brewery. In the past it was Canfest presented by Buckbean. Now it’s Canfest presented by Mammoth Brewing Company. We started working with them earlier this year when we knew Buckbean was totally out, and we had [the event to ourselves]. That’s been a little change of pace, kind of bringing their brand to it. One of the things that the guy that owns Mammoth is really, really keen on is catering to the brewers just as much as you cater to the crowd that’s coming to drink. On Friday, we’re throwing a little shindig at Imperial. We’re just getting together with all the brewers who are coming in. Saturday is the main event for the general public. We have a VIP hour from 5 to 6, and those are people who either donated their bike to the Bike Project or bought their tickets early. That’s just kind of a “come and start drinking beer at a little easier pace.” And then from six to 10, it’s the general public, and that’s when the floodgates get let open.