SHERIDAN — Many Sheridan residents will toast farewell to summer this weekend with a glass of cold beer.
Saturday will mark the fifth year that brewers from across the region will make their way to Sheridan for the Suds n’ Spurs Brewfest.
For most, it’s a great way to wrap up the summer and taste the best suds this area has to offer. But for the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, it’s one of its most crucial fundraisers.
Depending on attendance, the festival earns approximately $40,000 for the Chamber, and the organization hopes to hit and exceed that number again this year.
“Those dollars, of course, are used throughout the year for a lot of the programs and work that our committees do,” said Dixie Johnson, CEO of the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce.
Previously, money raised from the event helped fund the candidate forums, legislative forums, Ignite Your Business Conference and many of the other programs and services that the Chamber organizes for the community.
Since it began, Johnson said it’s taken a small village to make sure the festival goes off without a hitch. Dozens of volunteers and numerous sponsors help provide the manpower and resources required to make it a successful event.
“We start meeting on a regular basis in January,” Johnson said. “It takes a large amount of time from the volunteer standpoint and from a staff standpoint. But really we couldn’t do it without all of our sponsors.”
There won’t be a shortage of beer selection at the festival. Attending this year will be 18 different breweries from Montana, Colorado, Utah, South Dakota, Alaska and — of course — Wyoming.
Both Sheridan-based breweries, Luminous Brewhouse and Black Tooth Brewing Company, will participate as will local alcohol distributors Big Horn Beverage and Metz Beverage.
For Luminous co-owner Cooley Butler, festivals like this one play a critical role for his business.
Luminous attended more than 10 beer tasting festivals this summer and will wrap up its regional tour in Sheridan.
Butler said for his company, it’s more than just introducing new customers to his company’s beer or exposing existing patrons to the wide selection.
“There is always a lot of education and knowledge that gets passed around at these things,” Butler said. “We talk and meet with a lot of brewers from around the state.”
The event will be held at Whitney Commons Park for the second year in a row. Last year, the Chamber moved to the location to accommodate the growing size of the event. More than 1,200 made their way to Whitney Commons Park at the 2015 Suds n’ Spurs Brewfest.
For those who attended last year, the event will look familiar. After paying $30 for a wrist band and a mug, you will be able to sample brews from all of the beer vendors. Tris Munsick and the Innocents Band and The Wrench Band will perform throughout the event; there will be plenty of food vendors at the event; and participants can vote for their favorite brewery after sampling the beers.
Johnson said that safety is important for the festival’s success. Tipsy Taxi will be readily available for anyone who needs a lift home. Additionally, the Sheridan Trolley will make continuous routes to and from the Holiday Inn parking lot in Sheridan and the hotel has a block of rooms set aside specifically for Suds n’ Spurs participants. There will also be plenty of water available at the festival.
“It’s just a great event,” Johnson said. “We really look forward to it every year.”