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Stockbridge, businesses
benefit from brew fest

 

By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor 

  The City of Stockbridge is showing support for an event unfamiliar to local citizens. The Rock Quarry Brew Fest will mark the first of its kind in Stockbridge, hoping to become an annual occasion for all Henry County citizens, as well as visitors from other regions of Georgia to enjoy. 

From l to r: Councilman Richard Steinberg, Dan Vallish, Councilwoman Robin Buschman, Mayor Mark Alarcon, City Manager David Milliron, Councilwoman Shirley Dabney and Ron Castillo display the $5,000 grant for the Rock Quarry Brew Fest.                                                             Special Photo

  Last month, the Stockbridge City Council awarded a $5,000 grant to the brew fest. Ron Castillo, owner of Los Portales, and Dan Vallish, owner of Barley and Vine, first approached the city with the idea in February. The two local businessmen developed the event on their own, eventually gaining unanimous support from the City Council. “It’s a grassroots effort. They brought in more stakeholders and a councilwoman. It really mushroomed from there,” said City Manager David Milliron. “They did everything that they should. And we’re very proud that the city council got behind this effort, because this is exactly what this grant money is designed for.”

  The $5,000 comes from the Stockbridge Community Partnership Grant, a fund solely set up to cultivate tourism and cultural activities, according to Milliron. “The city council set aside $100,000 of grant money for folks to do just this, propose and operate festivals, events or other venues that would bring people in and promote the city and/or spur economic development,” said Milliron. “The goal is not for the grant to be a recurring grant, but for the event to become self-sustaining. So this is like seed money to help them get going, and then in future years, once the event is well established, it allows the city to move money elsewhere.”

  Prior to 2013, though, a festival like this hasn’t been seen in Stockbridge. The City Council passed two ordinances pertaining to alcohol this year, one that directly affects the brew fest.  “The city has made a number of progressive moves,” said Milliron. “The city passed an ordinance that allows alcohol sales at festivals and that ordinance is heavily regulated, meaning that it’s not just the city’s blessing. The event involves having law enforcement and security. It also requires them to be in full compliance with state alcohol laws.” The city also has an amendment that allows vendors to sell alcohol in city parks for city sponsored events, according to Milliron.

  Financial benefits play an important factor is these new moves by the city. “Any time you can attract individuals coming to Stockbridge or any community in Henry County where they spend money, that helps offset the cost to run the local governments,” said Milliron. “Most folks do not realize that Stockbridge does not have a city property tax. So everyone that comes into Henry County and spends money and pays a sales tax, that sales tax money is distributed between the county and the cities. That is enough revenue between that and user fees that we’re able to operate the city very financially and not have to charge property taxes.”

   Los Portales will host the brew fest in the restaurant’s parking lot, but the goal is to ultimately promote all of Rock Quarry Road. “We are hoping that this event will showcase businesses in the Rock Quarry corridor, and the county as a whole,” said Castillo. As one of the event’s organizers, Castillo is looking forward to promoting his area and the city in general. “Together, we are sponsoring the first brew festival that will hopefully be the first of many to come.” Castillo said he expects 600 to 800 people to be in attendance. He said they could even hit the 1,000-mark by the end of the day.

  The brew fest is also required to ensure all security measures are taken care of. Part of amending the existing ordinance in Stockbridge specifically states police officers must be included for this type of event. The last lines of Section 9.28.040 of Title 9, Chapter 9.28 read, “The City shall require that a uniformed on-duty police officer provide safety and security at all outdoor festivals at which alcohol is served, and at any outdoor festival which is reasonably expected to attract more than 250 persons at any one time during the festival.” Milliron said there will be control mechanisms in place to check for identification and get people in and out of the event. Wristbands will be used for those over the age of 21.

  Vallish wants to help spur the craft beer movement in Stockbridge. He said Atlanta has a rich culture for craft beer, and he’s working to promote it in Henry County as well. “We wanted to promote something here in Stockbridge, to get the word out, to give people the opportunity to try different beers,” said Vallish.

  Both organizers expressed their excitement about the brew fest approaching. Vallish said he receives calls constantly about the event. “We’ve put a lot of work into it, and I think you’ll see that,” said Vallish.

  Milliron said this type of event is a win-win for the city, noting the increase in visitors to Stockbridge. “As long as they come in, they learn about Stockbridge, they get to see Stockbridge, they spend money in Stockbridge, then it’s a great day for Stockbridge,” said Milliron.

  The Rock Quarry Brew Fest begins at noon on Saturday, June 15, and runs until 6 p.m. It will have live music from “Reluctant Saints” and “Hot Sauce Party Band,” and multiple local vendors will be on hand. The festival costs $10 to attend. An additional $10 gets visitors four drink tickets, which can be used for an 11 ounce cup of craft beer or a 14 ounce cup of commercial beer. This is a cash only event.

  For more information on the Rock Quarry Brew Fest, go to www.barleynvine.com/befeju1520.html or call 770-507-5998. You can also find the event on Facebook.

 

 

©Henry County Times, Inc.