Saratoga beer festival producer doubling number of festivals for 2015
Megan Rogers
Albany Business Review

Organizers behind Saratoga Beer Week and Troy on Tap Beer Festival, two local beer festivals that have drawn thousands of attendees, will organize 80 beer festivals across the U.S. next year.
Townsqaure Media, a Connecticut-based media company, is producing the America on Tap series, an expansion of beer festivals that began in the Albany, New York area in 2010.
A.J. Bodden and Garth Ellms hosted their first beer festival in the summer of 2010 as a side project. Saratoga Festivals morphed into a full-time business and the company expanded to produce more beer-centric events in the region. The pair sold their company to Townsquare Media in 2013 and organized 15 festivals that year.
"Without a company like Townsquare Media, there's no way for someone based in Saratoga Springs, New York, to scale like we have," says Bodden, now executive producer of America on Tap, the brand for the beer festivals that will quick off in 2015.
Townsquare Media (NYSE: TSQ) a Greenwich, Connecticut-based media company owns five radio stations in the Albany area, including 107.7 FM, 103.9 FM, 105.7 FM, 104.5 FM and 99.1 FM. Townsquare is the third largest owner of radio stations in the U.S.
Attendees pay between $30 and $75 for a ticket to sample local beers. Craft brewers do not have to pay an entrance fee to be at the event and Bodden's team provides the promotional materials for the breweries.
The majority of the beer festivals will be located in cities where Townsquare Media owns radio stations to streamline event promotion. Cities with major league football teams or capital cities with a well-educated workforce attract interest in beer festivals, Bodden says.
Bodden is also working with Infamous Graphics in Albany on banner and shirt designs for the festivals.
The challenge for America on Tap, Bodden says, is to have a national reach and maintain a local-feel in each market. The largest beer festival is in Buffalo, he says. Attendance at that event reached 5,000 people last year. This year, 6,000 people will be able to attend one of two sessions.
"Craft beer is growing locally, but it's trending crazily across the country," Bodden says. "We've been able to position ourselves in a unique spot nationally."
The America on Tap series will be in the following locations in New York next year: Beacon, Buffalo, Binghamton, Brooklyn, Utica, Troy, Syracuse, Saratoga Springs, Rochester and Glens Falls.