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Ice cold . . . Organiser Sue Cameron-Duncan is optimistic people will enjoy themselves at the Hops On Harbour Beer Festival next month. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

All things beer will be celebrated at the Hops On Harbour Beer Festival in Oamaru next month.

The new festival will take place on Saturday, March 17 in Harbour St.

Organiser Sue Cameron-Duncan came up with the idea of a beer festival after wanting to set up a fundraiser for the Whitestone Civic Trust.

“It was just about doing something that I can give back to the community,” Mrs Cameron-Duncan said.

The beer festival would be the first event of its kind in Oamaru, she believed.

Mrs Cameron-Duncan, who runs the Criterion Hotel, was optimistic the beer festival would turn into an annual event that would become a highlight on the calendar.

“There’s been wine and food – but there’s never been a beer festival,” she said.

The festival has attracted 14 craft breweries which will be pouring more than 100 different beers and ciders.

Many of the brewers turning up to the event would be coming from out of town, Mrs Cameron-Duncan said.

The Garage Project and the New New New Corporation would be among the brewers attending.

Mrs Cameron-Duncan said alcoholic ice-cream and other food would also be available at the festival.

“I just saw a bit of a gap in the market and thought, ‘I’m going to call local brewers and New Zealand brewers out there and get them to Oamaru’.”

The beer festival took about 12 months to organise. However, it was not until six months ago that preparation for the festival began in earnest.

All of the money raised from the beer festival will be going towards the Whitestone Civic Trust.

There will be beard-growing competitions on the day, including competitions for the longest beard, the “seediest” moustache and female facial hair.

Three local bands will also be performing at the event.

Mrs Duncan, who has organised the festival in conjunction with Alice Hore, said festival-goers could pre-register online. More information is available at the event’s and the Criterion’s respective Facebook pages.