You could have knocked me over with a feather last year
when I learned that these guys were going to produce the first ever beer
festival in AC. I thought to myself...what a daunting task that will be!!!
New Jersey has never really allowed beer fests to proliferate. The Garden
State Brewers' Guild has an annual event which is closely overseen by the
ABC and I figured this commission that regulates our alcohol consumption
would work hard against it. But they underestimated the determination with
which these gentlemen would pursue their goal!
Under the name of Unsuited Entertainment, LLC, Mark Monte, Jon Henderson, Jerome Robinson and Bert Bertino have accomplished what others have only dreamed of. When I met these guys in
November, I could see that nothing would be too much for them to tackle. They went in eyes wide open and hat in hand. This was even something new for the ABC; they had been so successful in discouraging these events that they never had to deal with the reality of the situation. Requirements came and went, things changed on a daily basis it seemed, but there was no relenting now. The AC Convention Center had been booked and they were committed to having some sort of event. My friend, Gary Monterosso, was brought in to help sell the idea to the breweries and to consult on beer-related matters. When it really started to come together, anticipation grew...large breweries like Sam Adams, Anheuser-Busch, Coors, Heineken, Ommegang, Magic Hat, Guinness, Belhaven, Dogfish Head and some smaller locals like Heavyweight, Wiedenmayer and Tun Tavern signed on and made the event a real happening. Distributors like Hunterdon Brewing Co., Harrison Beverage and Kramer Beverage all brought a nice selection of their portfolios to add quite a number of beers to the list. Thanks Guys!! Not only do you need good beer for a festival, but entertainment and other vendors as well. Playboy Playmates, Love Kittens, Beerheads.com and several bands were all brought in to round out the experience.