Celebration of the Suds
Atlantic City Beer Festival

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.

Gary kept me apprised of all the news that he could and I would pass it on to my group of friends. Word of mouth means a lot to the success of an event like this and we all did our part to get the word out. Unsuited didn't skimp on the advertising which has been the bane of many failed festivals. Newspaper ads, posters, card handouts, radio spots, etc. all played a part.
After all was said and done, the proof is in the pudding, as they say and before they knew it, the day was here. I missed the Saturday event, but was told it was mobbed which is nice, but comes with its own set of problems. The lines of people at the beer booths are extensive and impatience reigns, vendors run out of product and many don't get to taste what they came to taste, the food vendor's shortages and long lines, pushing and shoving through the crowds, etc., but I heard that, for the most part, the crowd behaved itself and few incidents occurred. We attended Sunday's event and it was great...just the right amount of people for the way the venue was set up. I got to see people that I haven't seen in a while and tasted some beers I haven't had in quite a while.
I was pleasantly surprised by the result of all their labors as they were. Now they can see what we tried to tell them about beer festivals and changes will be instituted for next year. There was a lot of skepticism among many of the other local and regional breweries and they decided to sit the first one out to see what would happen, but I am looking for this to become one of the premiere East Coast festivals in the next couple of years! Who knows, they may even decide to do other events during the year! Show your support and we may be able to work our way out of the beer doldrums here in South Jersey!
Keep up to date on all their happenings here and on their website  www.celebrationofthesuds.com . E-mail them about your thoughts from their site.