Ypsi pub crawl aims to support local businesses in absence of Summer Beer Fest

Organizers are hoping an upcoming Ypsilanti pub crawl will bring business to local pubs and restaurants, as well as let the Michigan Brewers Guild know that Ypsi residents want the guild's Summer Beer Fest to return to the community in 2022.

The "We Love You Beer Fest" Pub Crawl will take place from 5-9 p.m. on July 23 at Ypsilanti bars including 734 Brewing Company, Ypsi Alehouse, Tap Room, Keystone Bar and Arcade, Ziggy's, Wurst Bar, Powell's Pub, Dolores, Aubree's, and Sidetrack.

Julie Palmer and her co-organizer James Decker came up with the idea of a pub crawl earlier this summer after lamenting that the Summer Beer Festival wouldn't be taking place in Ypsilanti this year due to COVID-19. Palmer says the festival always had a strong "after-effect" on the community's restaurants and bars as people left the festival to get a drink or some food at local eateries afterward. The loss of the festival this year was also a loss for the local economy.

Palmer has experience co-producing the West Cross Hard Cider Fest in Ypsilanti, but knew she couldn't pull together a full alternate beer festival in just a month or two.

"I said, 'What about a  pub crawl?'" Palmer says. "Could we do something that would do a little bit for our beloved local economy and be fun and about community?"

The organizers are also including a component where participants can earn prizes by having a card stamped or initialed at each location they visit. Participants can get a stamp or initial for any purchase at a participating establishment, including for food or non-alcoholic beverages, not just beer.

Participants will start by purchasing one of two different cards with five locations each at the Tap Room’s annex, with the cards representing two different walkable routes. A third, special card is reserved for those with mobility issues and contains a shorter route that involves less walking.

Participants who visit all locations on their card will be dealt a hand from a deck of cards at the Ypsi Alehouse beer garden at the end of the crawl. They can then record the best poker hand they can form, their name, and their phone number to enter a drawing with a grand prize of $200 in gift cards, among other prizes.

Additionally, any participant who posts a selfie using the hashtag #LoveYouMIBeerFest and tagging the Michigan Brewers Guild will be entered in a drawing to win two tickets to the Route 23 Craft Beer Walk in Milan on Aug. 28. Palmer says the social media campaign is meant to let the Michigan Brewers Guild know that the community misses the beer fest and wants it to come back.

"We want them to feel the love," Palmer says. "We haven't heard that they've pulled out forever, but we want them to know we're thinking of them and that Ypsi loves having them here."

More details about the pub crawl are available here.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.
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