Originally Published September 2022
By Leah Morrow and Zoey Ross
Great beer and good music brings the Guelph community together. Wellington Brewery ushered in the fall season with their annual Welly Cask Fest. The festival, which originated in 2010 and marked the brewery's 25th anniversary, is held annually at Wellington Brewery on Woodlawn road West in Guelph. This year the festival ran from September 9th to 10th. Split up into three sessions full of food, live music, brewery tours, and more with over 25 plus beers and ciders for festival goers to indulge in.
Marketing Manager Brad Mclnerney has been part of the Wellington Brewery for many years. He describes Welly Fest as unique in that it takes what people think they know about beer festivals and reinterprets it.
“It really is a community oriented beer festival. We try to do something a bit more unique with that. Our brewery in a lot of ways ties into our history as one of Canada's original craft brewers. We tie into these traditions by having things like traditional casks on tap. It's very much a focus on where things come from but we also try to think about where things are going,” said Mclnerney.
Wellington Brewery emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion on their website. Mclnerney said that it is very important that the Welly Cask Festival be a welcoming space for everyone to enjoy. This year the festival was home to a wide variety of entertainment and activities for people of all ages. This included a drag show hosted by local queen Crystal Quartz, live music from bands like Shebad and Moonbean and a mini putt course.
“We have cheaper tickets available for people who don’t drink, designated drivers and people under the age of 19. Kids who are over 12-years-old are welcome. It is still a beer festival but it is more community and family oriented. It is an opportunity for people to have a different experience in Guelph,” said Mclnerney.
Each of the three festival sessions had between 500 to 600 people in attendance. In comparison to other festivals this is a relatively low number. Mclnerney suggests that the intimate size of the crowd adds to the vibes of Welly Fest.
“It is large enough but also small enough that you have a good experience. You aren’t just a part of a large crowd standing in lines the whole time,” he said.
The festival organizers took into account accessibility and the safety of their guests as well offering a Guelph Transit shuttle bus driven to and from the event by Mclnerney himself. The shuttle was a free service included in the ticket price. The price for a regular ticket was $35 plus tax and for those who don't drink, are not of age or are playing DD for the night tickets were $20 plus tax. A portion of the proceeds from the festival are being donated to The Grove. An organization dedicated to supporting the mental health of youth in the area.
Wellington Brewery was founded in 1985 and since then has been going strong in the world of craft beers with no plans of slowing down. For those who did not attend this year’s Welly Cask Fest have no fear! Mclnerey assures us that this event will continue as an annual kick off festival for the fall season. For more information on Wellington Brewery and Welly Cask Fest got to About — Wellington Brewery.