Aug. 16, 2016 – Two local breweries will premiere their beers to the public at the Aug. 20 Grand Island Liederkranz’ second annual Craft Brew & Sausage Fest. Grand Island’s Prairie Pride Brewery and Hastings’ First Street Brewing Co. will make their anticipated concoctions available for the public for the first time in Grand Island’s newly rechristened “Railside” downtown district.
"People at the Leiderkranz will be some of the first to taste our brewery’s cornerstone beer,” said First Street's Megan Arrington-Williams, specifically referencing their White Ale, one of the brewery's planned staples. "We’re opening this fall so you will be the first group to try what’s going to be on tap at the brewery and hopefully soon to be around the state.”
Prairie Pride is also aiming to open in Grand Island’s Railside this autumn, constituting the city’s first brewery opening in more than a decade.
“People will go out of their way to attend a brewery’s first sampling and we are going to have two local breweries making their first public appearance at our event, alongside dozens and dozens of other Nebraska craft beverages,” said Chris Rosacker, Liederkranz board member and one of the Brew Fest founders.
In addition to Prairie Pride and First Street, there will be more than a dozen brewers present, each offering several of their craft beverages for sampling. With further participation from Eagle Distributing and Nebraskaland Distributing, the Craft Brew and Sausage Fest will offer patrons around 75 total drink varieties from more than two dozen different brewers and beverage makers. It will also feature 12 brat and sausage varieties from St Paul’s Twin Loups Quality Meats and Ord’s Cetak's Gourmet Meats. Live music will be provided by Nebraska musician Rascal Martinez. And Mayor Jeremey Jensen is scheduled to lead the ceremonial keg tapping shortly after gates open.
However, the Craft Brew & Sausage Fest is more than just a bunch of beer and meat, Rosacker said. The event aims to raise funds to preserve, restore and enhance the Liederkranz, which formed in 1870, before Grand Island was even incorporated. The Liederkranz’ first president became Grand Island’s first mayor. Over the years, the building was used for everything from signing treaties with Native Americans to performances and civic functions, such as the time when John F. Kennedy spoke there while campaigning for President.
But like many formerly glorious historic buildings, the Liederkranz is a shadow of its former self. The bricked-over windows are just one of the more visible unmet building projects. Money from the Brew Fest will begin the restorations process in a fashion similar to the Grand Theater’s own rejuvenation.
“This building is jammed packed with more than a century of history while at the same time offering so much potential current uses, it would be a shame if future generations weren’t able to enjoy it,” said Sue Mayhew, the Liederkranz’ board president.
Last year’s inaugural Brew Fest garnered the attendance of nearly 500 people who helped raise more than $4,000 (after all expenses), which was unusual for a first-year event of this kind. Those funds raised were instrumental in downtown payments and other upfront costs of this year’s event, but more will be needed to establish the ongoing building needs the event’s organizers aim to achieve. Early ticket sales for this year’s event are showing a dramatic increase in participation, giving Rosacker an optimistic anticipation of this year’s fund-raising possibilities, he said.
Another Brew Fest goal is to expose people to the Liederkranz itself. Last year’s brew fest enticed nearly 50 new memberships on the day of and contributed to the ongoing resurgent membership increase of nearly triple that number. For only the annual dues of $30 per person or $60 for families, members of the Liederkranz are afforded many year-round offerings, including the monthly Bier Klub tastings, member access to family dining and the bowling alley, musical performances and the one-of-kind courtyard where the event is held.
“Most people don’t even know they have that giant courtyard,” said Christie DePoorter, director of Grand Island’ business improvement district. “And then when you see it, it takes your breath away it’s so beautiful. It’s the perfect place to hold an event like this.”
The Liederkranz Craft Brew & Sausage Fest could not be put on without the dedication of more than 60 volunteers, the main organizers of which are Downtown BID President Tom Ziller, Jeremiah Krantz, Rosacker, Steph Crosby and Kate Bohrer. The Brew Fest also benefits from the logistical support of the Convention Visitor’s Bureau, the Downtown Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Theater, as well as the in-kind and donated services of many Grand Island area businesses too numerous to mention.
Advanced tickets for the Liederkranz Craft Brew & Sausage Fest are available online at HYPERLINK "http://www.gibrewfest.com" www.gibrewfest.com for $5 off the day-of $35 ticket sale price. Liederkranz members also receive a further discount when they purchase at the building.
“Get your tickets now before we run out of room,” Rosacker said.
PRESS CONTACT: Christopher Rosacker, 308-379-3426 or firstname.lastname@example.org