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Another record at Avista

Whistle Punk Brewing photo

Another year, another attendance record for the Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival.

There were 3,508 full-price admissions for the event Friday and Saturday at Avista Stadium, up 7 percent from the previous year. That follows a 14 percent increase last year over 2015.

“We’re going in the right direction,” said Eric Radovich, executive director of the sponsoring Washington Beer Commission. “I think people really enjoy the baseball setting. There’s good food, fantastic beer, and it’s family-friendly.”

More than 100 children came through the gates for Saturday’s all-ages session, he said, twice last year’s total. And 238 people paid $5 for designated driver admission throughout the weekend.

Along with the lines outside for Lyft and Uber rides, Radovich said, “That shows some responsibility on the part of the folks attending.”

Which is a good thing, considering that 31,269 five-ounce beers were poured over the two days – equivalent to almost 7,000 cases of 12-ounce bottles or cans.

Perennial favorite Fremont again led the way with 1,650 tokens, followed by first-timer Dirty Bucket from Woodinville. Four locals were next in line: Hopped Up, Big Barn, Twelve String and River City.

Forty of the scheduled 41 breweries showed up to pour. The brewery total will remain in that range for next year, Radovich said, with some tweaks: The top 10 breweries in the token count will be guaranteed entry, along with any newcomers. The remaining spots will be filled through a lottery.

“You can almost always count on a dozen or 15 breweries who weren’t there the previous year,” Radovich said.

The brewery number could be increased, and a third day potentially added, if attendance reaches 5,000, he said.      

This year marked the eighth year for the event (which began as Spokane Oktoberfest in Riverfront Park) and the fourth at Avista.