At Sun King, we are fortunate enough to get invited to a number of festivals around the country. We get to travel, visit breweries and talk shop with our contemporaries. Each visit brings new perspective to what we do at SKB and we generally pick up a new trick or two, discover a new equipment option and learn something new.
We wanted to throw the CANvitational for a number of reasons, but mostly we wanted our friends from breweries around the country to visit Sun King. Over the course of our careers, we’ve have had the opportunity to work with and otherwise come to know some great folks in the “Craft Beer World”. So, as unofficial ambassadors of the City of Indianapolis, we decided to create an event and show our friends what Indy is all about.
Dave and I have been imagining the CANvitational for a couple of years now, but it didn’t really take shape until earlier this year at the Craft Brewers Conference when we started asking our friends if they would consider making the trip… Then we attended the Firestone Walker Invitational and we were blown away by their incredible hospitality! There are more and more craft beer events every weekend, therefore getting brewers and/or brewery owners to events can be pretty difficult. After all, we are all running thriving breweries that demand a lot of our time, heart and soul. So it helps to show them a good time and treat them right. Things like paying for their beer, putting them up in a nice hotel, setting them up with an UBER promo code to cover their transportation, having their beer delivered to their booth and providing volunteer pourers so they get a chance to enjoy the festivities all go a long way in that department.
We were honored that brewers from 16 states chose make the trek to Indianapolis on the last weekend of September to showcase their hard work and dedication, not just their craft, but the belief that cans are a great (if not the best small package for craft beer). What’s even more amazing is that twenty of the breweries don’t even sell beer in Indiana, let alone the Midwest. Hell, many of them only sell their beer in their home state, just like Sun King.
It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and things went off really well. DJs Helicon and Action Jackson laid down a soundtrack that set the tone for the event and even got people dancing as the day went on! Breweries lined Georgia Street and Pan Am Plaza and some of Indy’s best food trucks interspersed with our Community Partners, most notably five local, non-profit groups showcasing their mission and competing for a $10,000 in grant money from Sun King via the Indianapolis Arts Council’s Power2Give program. VSA Indiana garnered the most votes and took home the $5,000 grand prize and the others are still working to win a matching grant up to $1,000 dollars each. There is still time to show your support and help these worthy causes here:
Thanks our dedicated staff, nearly 100 volunteers, plus a slew of our community partners and of course the brewers themselves, we were able to create a great event that we can host annually and continue to improve.
Special thanks are due to @HoosierBeerGut from Hoosier Beer Geek, @SunKingBeth,@SunKingDustin for literally pulling it all together! Thanks to our diverse and diligent planning committee for lending their skills and helping create an amazing event out of thin air in under three months. Thank you to our Community Partnership Director, Heather, who create an interactive charitable component to the day thus furthering our mission of “Enriching the Lives of Hoosiers, One Pint at a Time”.
Thanks to our partners/sponsors at VisitIndy, World Class Beer, DRAFT Magazine, Distinct Images, The Omni Downtown Indianapolis Inc., Klipsch Audio, Do317.com, Alcoa, UBER Indy, Yelp Indy, BSG, Green BEAN Delivery, Just Pop In!, Hoosier Momma, Mac Genie, King David Dogs, Groovy Guys Fries, Taco Lassi, Bee Coffee, Edwards Dashboard Diner,Byrne’s Pizza, and Duos, Goose the Market, you all deserve a high five for your part in helping plan and execute a successful event!
If you missed out on the inaugural CANvitational, here are some highlights:
Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 20th, 2014 when the Canned Beer Mafia takes over Georgia Street and assaults your taste buds with deliciousness from far and wide. We’re lining up more breweries for you and we’ve got a year to plan, so watch out…