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CNY's craft beer festival returns but with limits on daily attendees

A beer flight from New District Brewing Co.
Courtesy of New District Brewing Co.
A beer flight from New District Brewing Co.

The CNY Brewfest is back after a pandemic-related hiatus. But the 25th annual event will look a little different this year as state officials warn about a surge in local COVID cases.

The two-day event was originally scheduled for just before the Super Bowl, but it was pushed back with the hope that COVID restrictions would ease up. Now the region’s COVID positivity rate is the greater than the state's.

Vaccinations and masks are not required for the event. But Brewfest organizer Jason Purdy said that they are capping each day at 1,000 patrons as a precaution.

 “We’re just trying to limit, a little bit more, the number of people that are there at any given time to help people that aren’t as comfortable in those types of environments to be able to spread out a little bit more.”

The event is an opportunity for people to sample beers from dozens of breweries.

 “We typically have right around 100 breweries. They each bring a couple beers, so that’s roughly 200 beers to try. As an attendee you purchase your ticket, that gets you a tasting glass and kind of unlimited samples from all the different breweries that are participating.”

Purdy said most participants are located near Central New York. But some popular breweries from across the country are making the trip to Syracuse for the event. The taps start pouring Friday at the New York State Fairgrounds.

Matt Wrigley comes from Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, and is pursuing his Broadcast and Digital Journalism degree at Newhouse. His goal is to be a beat writer for a Philadelphia sports team or a broadcaster for NBC/NBC Sports. This semester at WAER, he's looking forward to gaining confidence with interviews and improving his news writing.