Posted at: 02/23/2013 12:10 AM
By: Dan Levy
SARATOGA SPRINGS - The city known for its history and its horse racing is apparently getting to be known for its hops. The second annual Saratoga Beer Week Festival is leaving business owners pleased as punch.
In the middle of February, you wouldn't ordinarily find large crowds inside downtown bars and restaurants, but the barstools and the glasses were full Friday night at the City Tavern, mid way through a Beer Week celebration.
"They're bringing things into town at the right time of year," said Paul Jacobs, general manager of the Saratoga City Tavern. "This is basically bringing the track season in the middle of February, it's a great amount of business."
Twenty-eight restaurants and bars are offering Beer Week specials. Last year the event filled 400 hotel room in the off season, which, of course, pleases innkeepers.
"It does bring a tremendous amount of people to the area just like the races do (in summertime)," says Amy Smith, proprietor of the Saratoga Arms on Broadway. "We're thrilled!"
"We started this thing with the intention of filling an otherwise quiet weekend in February and it's grown into a signature event in Saratoga," says Todd Garofano, president of the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau.
There are a Billy Joel tribute concert at the Saratoga City Center Friday night, intended to put people into a New York beer drinking state of mind, a concept that has apparently caught on since last year it was a two day event and it it's a week long celebration of suds.
"We're trying to put Saratoga Springs on the map for more than just horses," says Garth Ellms, one of the event organizers, "This could be a great craft beer town and it's on its way."