Craft beer/wine festival draws out-of-town visitors

Photo by Dwayne Black Matt Jonas, at left, with Schell’s brewery serves beer samples to Shelby McDonald and Bill Weilly during the Made in Minnesota Craft Beer & Wine Festival at the Red Baron Baron in Marshall on Saturday.

MARSHALL — The Made in Minnesota Craft Beer and Wine Festival was back and drawing a crowd to Marshall over the weekend.

“Over two-thirds of the people that came were from out of town, which is great,” said Cassi Weiss, director of Visit Marshall. “It went really well.”

Hundreds of visitors gathered at the Red Baron Arena and Expo on Saturday to enjoy an afternoon of beer and wine samples, food and fun. This year, more than 40 vendors from around Minnesota took part in the festival, and more than 350 tickets were sold, Weiss said.

The festival puts craft breweries and vineyards – including several southwest Minnesota businesses – in the spotlight. Earlier this month, brewers from communities like Montevideo and Sleepy Eye said getting a chance to gain exposure was the draw for being part of the festival. For breweries like Brau Brothers Brewing in Marshall, the Sleepy Eye Brewing Co., and Talking Waters Brewing Co. in Montevideo, attracting taproom visitors was an important part of the business.

Weiss said the large number of out-of-town visitors at the Made in Minnesota Festival also had positive impacts on the wider business community. Some festival visitors were staying at hotels and going to other Marshall restaurants and businesses over the weekend.

The Made in Minnesota Festival might be smaller than Twin Cities craft beer events, but it also means there’s less congestion, and prices are more affordable, Weiss said. “That’s a positive for people.”

Over the past several years, the Made in Minnesota Festival has grown to about double the number of vendors the event originally started with, Weiss estimated. “We get new vendors every year that are excited to come,” she said.


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