The WakeFest Invitational, the annual festival that celebrates the craft of independent brewers, will return to Wynwood in February.
Last year, festival and J Wakefield Brewing founder Johnathan Wakefield changed the name and format of the event. In its invitational format, participating breweries must qualify as independent as defined by the Brewers Association. All participating breweries must produce no more than six million barrels annually, must specialize in beer, and must be no more than 25 percent-owned or -controlled by an alcoholic beverage industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.
Based on these guidelines, you won't see any other Wynwood-based breweries at the party. This past October, Wynwood Brewing announced it was acquired by Craft Brew Alliance (CBA). Veza Sur, founded by partners from Bogota Beer Company and Oregon's 10 Barrel Brewing, is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, Concrete Beach is owned by a division of the Boston Beer Company, and the Heineken-owned Lagunitas is planning a brewery in the area.
You will, however, find over 120 independently owned craft breweries from around the world. Of those 120 breweries, eight of the top ten craft brewers in the world (according to RateBeer) will be in attendance. Almost all of the breweries are from out of state and have been individually selected and invited by the Wakefield Brewing team. Most brewers pouring at WakeFest only come to South Florida specifically for this festival.
“WakeFest is a way for us to bring some of the world’s best brewers to Miami," Johnathan Wakefield says. "It was unimaginable that these brewers would have come to a beer festival in Miami even six years ago. The rapid growth of the event shows that our fans truly appreciate the incredible beer that is being made by independent brewers across the country and in Europe, just as much as we do."
WakeFest has two different ticket options. Early-bird general-admission tickets go on sale Tuesday, November 27. Each ticket costs $60 and includes unlimited samples and a collectible acrylic sample glass. Early-bird pricing is good through the end of the year. Starting January 1, 2019, GA tickets will cost $75 each.
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VIP tickets cost $350 and include entrance to the event at 11 a.m., a "culinary experience" from participating Miami chefs (to be announced), unlimited beers, a special VIP area with specialty beers, five 500 ml special-release bottles, and one 750 ml special-release bottle of That's the Ticket brewed exclusively for this event. VIP ticket holders also have first rights to purchase any additional bottles before the general-admission ticket tier. The pricey ticket is limited to 350 attendees.
If you want to get in on the game early, 100 of the VIP bottle package tickets will be made available to locals in the taproom today, November 26, at 10 a.m. (limit two tickets per person). The remaining VIP tickets go on sale online on Tuesday, November 27, at noon. General admission tickets will go on sale after the VIP tickets are sold out.
Ticket purchasers will also have the opportunity to order special-release bottles online. Bottle options include That's the Ticket ($20), Old Forester Bourbon BA Boutit
Mjod House Cognac BA Superstition Strawberry Brag ($25), and others.
WakeFest Invitational. Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 2, 2019, at Mana Wynwood. 318 NW 23rd St., Miami. Tickets cost $60 to $350 at jwakefieldbrewing.com