Northern Lights Rare Beer Festival: Q&A with co-founder Juno Choi

The Northern Lights Rare Beer Festival is coming at the end of March, and soon tickets may be as rare as the beer.

Northern Lights Chop Liver

The Northern Lights Rare Beer Festival is right around the corner — just in time for spring. On March 29th this unique beer festival will features truly rare beers from 30 national breweries and 10 Minnesota breweries. Many breweries are bringing rare barrel-aged brews, limited releases, and one-of-a-kind beers you can’t get anywhere else. Beyond unlimited beer sampling,  festival goers will also be treated to a meal, courtesy of local caterer Bon Appetit, and live music from The Zacc Harris Trio.

The Growler got the chance to ask Juno Choi, co-founder of the event, a few questions about the Northern Lights Rare Beer Festival.

The Growler: What beer are you most looking forward to tasting? 

Juno Choi: All of them, of course! What’s nice about this event is that we have limited the tickets sold to keep it intimate so attendees can have the chance to try them all.

G: Are there any last minute details or surprises we can let people know about?

JC: Expect some great food! Your ticket includes food like wonderful sausages from local farm, Ferndale Market, and breads made with spent grain from participating breweries like Fulton Brewing. Also, that you’ll be in good company. Owners and brewers from most breweries will be in attendance, so be sure to engage them and let them know what you think of their beers. As for beer related surprises, I’m sure there will be a few, you’ll have to attend to find out!

G: Why the Minnesota History Center?

JC: The Minnesota History Center is really just beautiful and representative of Minnesota. It’s constructed of granite from Rockville, limestone from Winona, and Minnesota hardwoods. My favorite piece of art, called the “Charm Bracelet,” is actually the floor of the Great Hall right when you walk in.

G: How have you seen the Twin Cities beer culture change in the past few years?

JC: Being in the industry for over 10 years, I have seen it change only for the better. Laws are changing, consumers have more options, wider access and are better educated. Frankly, I think the best is yet to come.

G: What are some challenges you faced with putting on a rare beer festival versus a typical beer festival?

JC: Not much, but maybe the increased pressure to make sure the event (as with any new event) meets the expectations of the attendees. Also to keep within budget, rare beers inevitably cost more and since we pay money towards the beers being served, we have to make sure to maximize the money being raised for our charity partner, Pints For Prostates.

The festival will donate a portion of their ticket sales and 100% of the proceeds of their Silent Auction to Pints for Prostates. By purchasing tickets and bidding in the silent auction, attendees are also helping the local charity.

Pints for Prostates is a grassroots campaign that delivers the important health message of regular screenings and early detection to men through the language of beer. 238,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013, which is why cancer survivor Rick Lyke founded Pints for Prostates in 2008. Raising awareness about prostate cancer can be a difficult and taboo subject, which is why introducing it at comfortable environments is important. View the video below for a message from Rick Lyke, and stop by the Pints for Prostates booth during the festival for more information.

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