Thursday, August 23, 2012

KC BeerFest On Hiatus, For Sale

When KC Beerfest first announced that the festival would not be taking place this year and that the brand was being put up for sale, I mentioned it on our Facebook page but decided against putting a post together yet because there really wasn't much detail available about the decision. Now, the festival's website has been updated with a letter, explaining the situation..though details behind the decision are still a little fuzzy. From

Dear Friends,

For over 5 years, the KC Beerfest has been the most recognizable craft beer festival in the Kansas City area. Over 12,000 beer connoisseurs and first-timers have attended the KC Beerfest allowing them to sample hundreds of different types of craft brews from around the world. KC Beerfest has been a huge success and is viewed by many as the premier craft beer festival in Kansas City.

However, the missions of both benefiting agencies, the Kansas City Free Health Clinic and the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City, are not being met by the KC Beerfest. Initially, leadership at both agencies felt their missions would be shared with the thousands of beer lovers who attended the festival. Unfortunately, this was not the case. Therefore, KC Beerfest will not be held this fall. However, we are seeking prospective buyers who would produce the KC Beerfest and take it to the next level.

We propose a $5,000 payment that would grant your organization ownership of the KC Beerfest,, the KC Beerfest logo and all marketing related materials; contacts with distributors/brewers in the state of Kansas that have supplied the beer to the festival; access to an army of 150+ volunteers; remaining inventory of KC Beerfest sampling glasses, buss tubs, banners and other supplies; contacts with marketing/media partners; and the goodwill  of 5+ years of satisfying the taste buds of the KC craft beer community.

Should you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please feel free to call Kirk Isenhour at the Kansas City Free Health Clinic at (816) 777-2762 or Michael Lintecum at the AIDS Service Foundation at (913) 269-7960.

We look forward to hearing back from interested parties soon and thank everyone for your support of the KC Beerfest.
Kirk Isenhour 
Kansas City Free Health Clinic
Michael Lintecum
AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City

I imagine there's one section of this letter that stands out and is the most puzzling to everyone:

"Initially, leadership at both agencies felt their missions would be shared with the thousands of beer lovers who attended the festival. Unfortunately, this was not the case."

Holy vagueness. What does this mean? They weren't making as much money as they expected? They didn't feel that the cause was being promoted or recognized enough in relation to the festival? The way that statement is worded, they seem to take issue with the actual attendees more than anything. Also, does this mean that KC Free Health Clinic and AIDS Service Foundation of Greater KC are completely unloading this, or are they looking for an organization/group of people that can revamp the festival and help festival-goers 'share the mission' of those two organizations better?

Though this letter attempts to explain things, there are still questions that remain unanswered. And, despite past instances of running out of beer and being overrun by swarms of bros, my impression has been that this is a fairly successful beer festival, and is obviously a major one in the area each year. While it may not rake in as many limited or special beers as some of the other festivals, it served a nice role as a way for people new to the craft beer scene to try something new and explore a bit.

I'm going to reach out to Kirk and Michael to see if we can get the above note explained a little further, but for the time being, the future of KC Beerfest is in limbo, unless one of you devoted readers has a cool 5 grand laying around that you're not doing anything with.


  1. This sounds really odd. I have been in years it sold out and the event was always bustling. It sounds like they had a problem with the amount of money that was ending up with the charity and that the charities want to get rid of everything they have on hand.

    Who would have guessed catering an event to bros who want to slam endless amounts of BMC products would not yield the desired charitable contributions.

  2. why buy it...just start your own...kc beer blog fest has a nice ring to it

  3. I would love to start my own, but I'm pretty busy trying to figure out how to get a skeeball machine into The Foundry and open up a craft beer bowling alley. I'll put it on my list, though!

  4. That whole deal about the foundations is just silly. I didn't even know KC Beerfest benefited anything the first 2 times I went. I thought it was just a beer festival some distributors put together. They basically failed completely at marketing what the Beerfest was (apparently?) supposed to be about.

  5. And really, how often do attendees know what ANY beer festival is benefiting? How many people really know that the festival in Zona Rosa benefits UNICO (even though it's in the name) or what UNICO is? How many people knew that BeerKC's Summer Beer Festival benefited AIDS Walk Kansas City? Any organization that is looking into being a beneficiary of a beer festival needs to understand that most, if not all, attendees are going for the beer, not for a specific cause. Sure, it's a positive thing that our money is helping a non-profit at some of these festivals, but are we choosing what events we go to based on what charity is being represented or with the mindset of philanthropic awareness? I'm gonna go ahead and guess no.

  6. Pat, I think you should buy the fest and donate proceeds to a charity that helps idiots like me get better at captchas.

  7. As sad as it sounds we should see this as an opportunity to do it better and grow. I am definitely interested continuing this if possible

  8. I used to work with Kirk. He wears a bow tie. Enough said.

  9. It's all about money. They somehow do not raise enough money for their programs so they decided to take find raising else where. I don't think it's really their kind of event.

  10. Why does every damn festival have to ruin it with a charity tie in? Can a beer festival be about beer? What a shocker, I know. I drink beer because I like it. I don't drink it because I want to feel good about some charity. if I want to donate to charity I'll donate to a charity. I want to drink some beer I'll drink some beer. there's about 1,000,000,000 and a half ways you can donate to a charity. It doesn't need to be at every festival under the sun.

  11. Anonymous, the whole point of KC Beerfest was to be a fundraiser for these two organizations.

  12. Other anonymous, I know. It's a retarded pairing. Stick to beer and let fundraising happen somewhere else. Clearly it was ill fitting.