Nearly 30 breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries will serve up their products at First Fest, organized by the Rochester/Finger Lakes Craft Beverage Trail, on March 29 at Ravenwood Golf Club, 929 Lynaugh Road, Victor.
The tasting event will feature samples from these craft beverage producers, as well as food vendors, music and raffles. Tickets include a free tasting glass.
The ROC/FLX Craft Beverage Trail is a nonprofit collaboration among brewers, wine makers, cider makers and distillers. Its mission is to educate consumers about craft beverage producers in Livingston, Monroe, Ontario and Wayne counties. Its members include 40 craft beverage producers, Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, Visit Rochester and Wayne County Tourism.
First Fest will offer a VIP hour from 6 to 7 p.m., where participants can sample special selections only available to patrons with the $40 ticket. General admission tickets cost $30 and are good from 7 to 9 p.m. The trail will offer a designated driver ticket for $15.
“An event like this encourages patrons to expand their tastes and build bridges with fellow craft beverage lovers,” said Jason Barrett, trail founder and owner of Black Button Distilling. “This takes the guesswork out of where to go, because you get to try a variety of products.”
After the event, Barrett encourages patrons to head out to visit producers on the trail.
“We make it easier to identify and plan a day of experiencing unique local beverages made in your backyard,” he said. “A lot of the smaller operations are hard to find and the trail helps highlight them, because you want to make a day of it. People want to try different beverages, see different atmospheres, learn new things. It’s a sense of adventure and exploring your community with friends, and you get to try some great locally made beer, spirits, cider or wine in the process.”
John Brahm, founder of Arbor Hill Grapery and Winery in Naples and a founding member of the Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail, thought it was important to join the Craft Beverage Trail. Plus, he liked the collaborative spirit.
“Our trail gives visitors so many different opportunities to sample wine, distilled products, cheese and beer — it’s not one or the other,” he said. “We offer a marvelous selection of products. A formalized trail gives legitimacy to our efforts, plus it offers a larger group of producers for people to visit.”
Visit rocflxcraftbevtrail.com for information.