Over the past two weeks, local breweries have seen new customers from all around the world try their Alabama-brewed beer while visiting Birmingham for The World Games 2022.
The World Games started on July 7 and will end on July 17. It was estimated that the games would generate $256 million in economic impact. The World Games welcomed 3,600 athletes from over 100 countries competing in over 25 venues around the greater-Birmingham area.
Some of The World Games 2022 events were held across the street from Back Forty Beer Company, which is next to Sloss Furnace in downtown Birmingham.
Back Forty brewer Jake Doggett said he’s seen waves of people come in and hang out after events.
Manager Josh Kelly said Back Forty prepared for The World Games by brewing a couple of different European-style beers, such as its Kolsch and Hefeweizen, both beer styles that originated in Germany.
Kelly said they slightly changed the food menu to have more snacks, so people could easily take food with them. He said they also wanted to be able to handle a high volume of customers if necessary.
“We’ve kind of seen big upticks between events,” said Doggett. “But our regulars aren’t as sure about how to get around with all the barricades and everything. We definitely have [fewer] regulars and more out-of-towners. It’s kind of leveled out, I would say.”
Kelly said he’s seen people from around the world come to Back Forty throughout The World Games, including athletes, coaches and even the certified timekeepers who come from Switzerland to work the event.
“Some really cool people came in that were building the parkour assembly, and their background was kind of gymnastics platforms, building these big structures for that kind of [thing], and they transitioned it into parkour,” Kelly said. “They had a staff of a dozen people come in just [after] doing that.”
Doggett said he’s seen several people with Brazilian flags come into the brewery but has seen more people from Europe.
“I don’t know if that’s craft beer, that they’re more drawn to that, or if it’s just because of who’s competing at these particular events next door,” Doggett said.
According to Doggett, a good portion of Team Japan came to the brewery before the opening ceremony.
“It’s been cool to hear different people’s stories about where they’re from,” said Doggett.
“It seems the whole world is represented pretty well,” Kelly said.
Cahaba Brewing Co. marketing maven Kayla Stinnett said Cahaba has enjoyed serving craft beer to international customers during The World Games.
Stinnett said Cahaba’s business usually slows down this time of year because Cahaba is a family-focused taproom, and families tend to go out of town around Independence Day. She said this year's business was steadier because of The World Games.
Cahaba’s World Games Block Party
Though Cahaba has not seen any of The World Games athletes, Stinnett said she would love to see some of them come to Cahaba’s World Games Block Party on Saturday.
Cahaba has teamed up with Redmont Distilling to host the event, a family-friendly day party with live music, food trucks, bounce houses, face painting and more. The event starts at noon and ends at 6 p.m.
Music will begin at 1 p.m. with DJ Mikey. The Best Men will perform at 1:30 p.m. and will be followed by Mother May, who will play from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
Clothing, artistry, pastry and other types of vendors will be setting up shop at the Block Party. Food trucks such as Kayjun’s Food Truck, Simone’s Kitchen and The Current at Cahaba will be serving meals and snacks to attendees.
The Block Party is free to attend, but participants can purchase a VIP ticket to gain access to the VIP lounge inside Redmont Distilling, where they can sample cocktails and craft beer. The VIP lounge is private and air-conditioned.
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