Soak up the sights, spirits and suds at this fest - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Soak up the sights, spirits and suds at this fest

April 26th, 2019 development
Soak up the sights, spirits and suds at this fest

Managing Editor

People can quench their thirst for diverse cocktails, vodka, rum, wine and other alcoholic beverages at a popular festival in downtown Chandler next weekend.

The Arizona Craft Spirits & Cocktail Festival is expected to attract 2,500 people pouring into Dr. A.J. Chandler Park 3-9 p.m. April 27. The park is at 178 E. Commonwealth Ave.

This is the sixth year for the event, previously called the Chandler Craft Spirits Festival.

“We’ll have a variety of cocktails, distilleries and bars coming up with unique cocktails to showcase their spirit,” Tiffany Shultz, principal at Levitate Agency said. “Also straight pours of different spirits: tequilas, vodkas, rums, some wine and craft beer, too.”

The festival will shine the spotlight on “smaller batch” distilleries.

Levitate Agency produces the eclectic gathering, where many Chandler businesses and other local establishments will bring a variety of drinks, as well as food.

Patrons can vote on their favorite beverages after trying samples of them during tastings in a broad range of categories including un-aged whiskey, aged- two years-and-under whiskey, un-aged rum, flavored rum, flavored vodka, fruit brandy, London Dry gin and Blanco agave.

Wild Hare Distillery, which will have just opened in Tempe, is going to offer its agave, vodka, rum and whiskey; SanTan Distillery in downtown Chandler will sell its malt whiskey, vodka and bourbon; Las Palmas Cantina, also of downtown Chandler, will bring its cocktails for guests to sip.

Another well-known, downtown Chandler establishment The Ostrich, a craft cocktail lounge, will also provide cocktails. Meanwhile, The Brickyard Downtown, also in Chandler, will bring cocktails.

CaskWerks Distilling Company of Tempe will offer apple pie liqueur, tea-infused gin and vodka at the festival. Cider Corps of Mesa will present its hard cider and Old Ellsworth Brewing Company of Queen Creek will provide beer.

OHSO Brewery + Distillery of Gilbert will give guests a variety of cocktails to try and Adventurous Stills in Tempe will deliver cocktails and spirits.

The winners in the tastings will be announced at the end of the night.

“We have something for everyone,” Shultz said. “We have everything from sweet and sour to if you enjoy whiskey straight up or beer and wine. Our distilleries are going to be selling bottles. You can buy right on-site.”

Festival-goers will also have their pick of lots of different types of food at the gathering.

Many food vendors will sell their sweet and savory offerings, including Cousins Maine Lobster, Drive Wood Fired Grill, the Wandering Donkey, La Petite Provence and Taste of Korea.

Hawaiian food will be provided inside the Tiki Lounge, a fun place where mixologists will make drinks and provide a demonstration of a “Whose Drink Is it Anyway” event, where they will create beverages based on audience members’ ideas.

A speakeasy will also provide extra treats and require a password to enter but will not cost anything extra.

Three bands will add entertainment to the festival. Aunt B will take the stage with “fun, upbeat music” from 3 to 5 p.m. on the main stage, Shultz said. The Hourglass Cats will perform from 5 to 7 p.m. on the main stage and Mixtape will deliver songs from 7 to 9 p.m., also on the main stage.

Tickets are $26 if purchased ahead of time online and $35 if bought at the gate.

That includes eight drink tickets — tastings ranging from one to three ounces each — as well as access to games and other activities, the live music and other features.

If people want to buy cocktails in the speakeasy and Tiki Lounge after the tastings, they can buy them off the cocktail menu but not order more samples.

People can buy a designated driver ticket for $8 each, where no alcoholic consumption is allowed.

Children ages 12 and under are free and can attend if accompanied by adults.

The VIP Lounge ticket costs $100 if purchased ahead of time and includes 20 drink samples, catered food, snacks, access to a lounge area near the stage, private restrooms and other amenities.

The VIP tickets cost $125 if bought at the gate but there are a limited number of VIP tickets and they may be sold out by then.