Second annual Hops on the Rock a success

Hops on the Rock just keeps growing.

The second annual beer festival brought nearly 1,000 people to the streets of Eastsound on Nov. 10 for alcohol, appetizers and ambience.

“This was a success in bringing visitors, who filled up most of the available hotel space on the island, sold out ferries and filled most restaurants all weekend long,” said San Juan County Councilman Rick Hughes, who is also on the organizing committee. “The goal was to bring an event to locals that would be fun while providing a platform to bring visitors to our county on a traditionally slow month for the local business community. There is limited data on average spending by visitors, but it would seem logical that every family that spent the weekend may spend between $1,000-$2,000 in the local economy.”

Co-founder Jacob Linnes estimates that 600 visitors came to Orcas for the event that featured 25 breweries, two cider outfits and one wine company as well as food offerings from four local booths. The festivities were held beneath tents that stretched along Prune Alley and A Street, where there was also live music. Some were turned away from the event after it was sold out. According to the committee, there will be more local access next year.

“Hops on the Rock is my new favorite beer fest in the state, hands down,” said Jack Lamb, owner of Aslan Brewing Company in Bellingham. “The island seems to make all of the people smile a little bigger and all of the beer taste a little better.”

The Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce oversees Hops on the Rock, and a portion of the proceeds will be given back to the organization. In addition to Hughes and Linnes, the festival committee consists of Tim Coffey, Becca Gray, Cole Sisson, Regan Vaughn and Chase Woodward.

“The goal of the event was to stimulate our local economy during a difficult time of year and help our local businesses get through the winter,” said Linnes. “I believe we exceeded that goal without asking any business for financial support – and to me, that is a success!”