All over America, summer revolves around great weather, captivating entertainment, and of course, delicious food and beverage. Name the food, you can likely find it at an amusement park, state fair, or music festival: deep-fried Twinkies, beer-battered bacon-wrapped brats, ice cold beer.
Summer festivals bring in huge crowds over several days or weeks during the season. And if there’s one thing these folks want to do, it’s eat and drink.
Take a trip, for instance, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home of the "World's Largest Music Festival" according to the Guinness World Records. For 11 days on the shores of Lake Michigan, Summerfest plays home to some of the most popular acts in music. Summerfest has seen the likes of Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Prince, Bruno Mars, and more for 50 years and counting. Currently, this festival attracts crowd sizes between 800,000 and 900,000 people regularly. That’s a lot of beer for one venue to pour.
With festivals often very spread out, each beer station throughout the grounds must act as an independent, fully functional bar establishment, with the proper bar equipment designed to meet each station's needs.
It goes without saying, but large crowds at entertainment events require a copious amount of beer. But with that high volume of beer comes the challenge to maintain the same quality and temperature from the first pour to the last. Not only is the volume high, but so are the temperatures outside, so keeping that beer cold is vital. That's where efficient performance and efficient design in back bar refrigeration is so critical.
Beer stations throughout any festival grounds need standalone refrigeration cabinets designed to fit the space and handle the heavy workload of a thirsty festival crowd. And much like the music on stage, these back bar setups need to run at peak performance from the opening act to the final encore.
The tastes of today’s festival-goers vastly differs from those a half century ago. For operators, offering a variety of beers to guests is more important for than ever. In the midst of the craft beer movement, demand for local, craft beers has surged outside of bars and restaurants and expanded to large volume operations. Cutting into the larger brands, craft beers are as much a staple of festivals as fried food and funky music.
Tap lists at each beer station on the festival grounds must be curated with the customers' tastes in mind. Stations will often feature several of the most popular beers as well as some of the more unique craft styles, specific to just that beer station. And that's just beer. Wine and craft cocktail ingredients need to be kept cold and stored in a properly designed back bar as well. Versatile refrigeration equipment allows festival beverage programs to expand their reach across the grounds, thus increasing profitability.