Sydney Beer Week has been cancelled indefinitely with organisers citing a decline in registrations and “pull-back of sponsorship support”.
In an email to event partners, organiser – and owner of Dave’s Brewery Tours – David Phillips said that the viability of the event had been compromised as fewer companies signed up this year.
Phillips highlighted the thin margins involved in running the event, noting that the company only made enough money to pay for one part-time staffer.
“I believe Sydney should celebrate beer in a big way. However, the dynamics and market Sydney Beer Week exists within and the community it serves has changed since the Festival was conceived with a growing number of conflicting interests that are simply not able to be addressed appropriately with such a marginal business model.
“So when registrations and sponsorships lag, the ability to run a festival that brings benefits to all is severely affected.
“It simply does not do anyone any good to conduct a mediocre festival.
“I hope that in time we are able to resurrect Sydney Beer Week and I welcome any input and support from the community to make that a reality.”
Sydney Beer Week was due to run from 25 October to 3 November 2019. Phillips said it was appropriate to advise everyone as soon as possible and advised that registration fees would be refunded.
It was launched as a single event in 2009, and grew to become a week-long festival in 2011. The event was taken over by Phillips’ Dave’s Travel and Events Company (formerly Dave’s Brewery Tours) a New South Wales craft beer and brewery tour operator in 2017.
Last year organisers said that it had delivered 137 events across 100 venues. Sponsorship costs ranged from a small event for $295 to a large event for $670.
At last year’s Sydney Beer Week, Brews News held a panel discussing whether beer events had had their day, and whether brewers and other beer industry companies were suffering from event fatigue.
Phillips, who was part of the panel, highlighted the challenges of running the event saying that it was difficult to get critical mass.
“Are there too many beer events? Yes. Anyone who has a postcode doesn’t mean they should have a beer festival. It is getting harder and harder,” he said.
He said at the time that the festival had four main customers: breweries, venues, consumers and sponsors, and was stretched between the demands of them all.
“We’re in the middle of this square, we’re pulled around and we put focus and attention on all of those things because we believe all festivals, whether it’s a day festival or a nine-day event, need to deliver value to all of those stakeholders.”