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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Tbilisi Beer Festival 2011

Summer has arrived and what better way to cool yourself off than with an ice cold beer? Last weekend, Natakhtari Brewery, Georgia’s leading beer producer invited people to quench their thirst with endless beer at the Second Annual Tbilisi Beer Festival 2011 downtown at Rose Revolution Square.

People who really enjoy beer and came very thirsty had the opportunity to taste five options of beers from Natakhtari Brewery while enjoying the provided entertainment, food and the company of friends and family.

Locally produced fresh beers with brand names like Natakhtari, Karva, Extra, Kasri and Efes, an imported Turkish beer were for sale on taps at the festival. The price for a glass of beer was 1 lari.

“We want Georgians as well as foreigners to have an event they look forward to every year and share that it is a great place to live and bring visitors to,” Tornike Nikolaishvili, the Marketing Manager of Natakhtari Brewery told Georgia Today.

“[At] this year’s festival we have more space, more beer and large tents that fit thousands of people underneath to sit on hay bunches and have delicious meals that go well with beer,” he added.

The organizers hope that people have enjoyed “the truly unique experience,” and hope that the Tbilisi Beer Fest will become one of the most authentic beer events in Europe.

“We would like the event to continue growing in vendors and attendance each year. This year we had guests from our neighboring countries including Armenia and Azerbaijan and hope the number of foreign guests will increase in the future,” said Beka Jakeli, the Deputy Head of the National Tourism Agency of Georgia, a state agency responsible for the tourism sector development and one of the organizers of the beer festival.

Moreover, Jakeli added that Georgia has thousands of years of history of producing beer and that modern equipment and technology “ensures supply of the best quality Georgian beer to consumer.”

With the aim of getting closer to European beer festival traditions, the tables in Tbilisi were served by the wonderful wait staff of Oktoberfest, the largest Bavarian beer festival in Germany, all dazzling in traditional Bavarian dress. Oktoberfest is one of the most famous events in Germany and the world’s largest fair, with more than 5 million people attending every year running from late September to the first weekend in October.

“It was a great challenge for me to come to Georgia and serve people who really enjoy beer and like exploring different flavors,” Jana Hamdan, one of the members of the Oktoberfest waitress staff told Georgia Today. “Tbilisi Beer Fest has maintained a festival atmosphere and a city of beer lovers.”

The entertainment line up included the fresh air concert by multi-faceted local musicians such as Salome Korkotashvili, Rodrigues, musical groups – Mgzavrebi, 33 A, Frani, Comic Condition, Nali and Zarebi.

Several lotteries and competitions were arranged and the winners were granted beer-related souvenirs. Guests were encouraged to immerse themselves in the spirit of Tbilisi Beer Fest with a range of fun beer accessories that not only provided mementoes to take home but most importantly, provided a plethora of laughs and photo opportunities at the event.

For non-alcohol drinkers and children, the organizers arranged the sparkling juice corner where they could sample Natakhtari Lemonade which was presented in a variety of aromas including tarragon, orange, cream, saperavi, pear, lemon and peach.

The Natakhtari brewery was built in 2005 with the joint investments of TBC Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). It also imports Turkish Efes beer to Georgia. Efes International acquired 100% of the share in 2008. Investments made during 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively amount to 58.4 million lari ($31.8 million). According to the company’s officials, Natakhtari controls more than 60 percent of Georgia’s beer market.

“Living in Tbilisi, I don’t have to travel far to find good beer. Here’s why,” said Levani, 31, to Georgia Today, as he held up two beers in his hands.

By Tamar Khurtsia