Comic Cons Are Quietly Becoming Craft Beer Festivals

This weekend the Pacific Northwest’s largest comic book and pop culture convention will welcome some 90,000 TV, gaming, comics, and cosplay fans to its annual geek getaway at the Washington State Convention Center. But for the first time in the history of ReedPop’s Emerald City Comic Con, it will also welcome attendees to its official League of Libations, where they can sample drinks from a number of west coast brewers, including the Fremont Brewing official ECCC beer “Dark Heron.”

In the last decade, the comic convention has gotten a mainstream makeover as geek culture has been more widely embraced. In the process, “geeky” things have started blending with other enthusiast interests, more notably the world of craft brewing. No, geeks haven’t suddenly started drinking beer in the last ten years (they’ve always been doing that). Nor is beer drinkers watching The X-Files or Doctor Who anything new (they’ve always done this, too). But the very intentional integration of craft beer culture into the comic convention experience is burgeoning. In fact, the organizer behind highly attended conventions like Emerald City, Chicago’s C2E2, PAX, BookCon, New York Comic Con, and the UK’s MCM Cons, has played a major role in the effort to make beer culture a part of the con brand.

“The way we see it is people come to our cons to experience art in all different types of forms: cosplay, comics, video games,” Emily Robillard, ReedPop’s Brand Marketing Coordinator, explained to Food & Wine. “We see these as not only hobbies but as different art forms, and brewing beer is right along those lines. It’s pretty much a complex art and [the brewer] is the artist.”

“Craft beer is all about enjoying a quality experience together so we think it’s a super natural fit to combine these two communities through the League of Libations,” says Jason Randles, the branding and marketing manager for Crux Fermentation Project, one of the beer garden’s featured brewers.

Extensions of their immersive and insular weekend-long experiences, ReedPop’s brew collaborations are supercharged versions of what you see at other geeky gatherings. San Diego Comic-Con International attendees will be familiar with the Heroes Brew Festival, an annual outdoor and ticketed “unofficial” SDCC beer festival which featured three main breweries for 2017. In Colorado, Denver Comic Con has worked six times with Breckenridge Brewery on an official beer that sees regular flavor and name changes, in addition to being put on tap around the city. And at Boston Comic Con 2017, Wayward Raven—a publisher of comics and illustrated children’s books—offered its drinking-aged booth visitors the chance to try a custom brew made by CEO/COO Mark Frankel.

The full story appeared at on Feb. 28, 2018.