Durham Craft Beer Festival returning to downtown Oshawa this fall

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Published July 14, 2022 at 3:28 pm

After a four-year hiatus, the Durham Craft Beer Festival will return to downtown Oshawa under new management this October.

Jeff Davis, currently the Director of Communications for the Biltmore Theatre, and former restaurant owner Murielle Leonard will take over the festival from founder and former Buster Rhino’s owners Darryl Koster and his wife Beth.

“We are pleased and excited to announce that we have completed negotiations to take over the Durham Craft Beer Festival and we are currently negotiating a festival return to a super secret downtown location in downtown Oshawa this fall,” Davis said on the four-year anniversary of the 2018 Durham Craft Beer Festival.

Davis said Koster was “totally receptive” to the idea and has offered full co-operation in the transfer of promotional materials, assets, knowledge and commitment to get the festival back and running.

“The festival needs to come back, Darryl believes we can do it, and he totally supports us and will advise us,” noted Davis, who cited as one of his skills the fact he was the second of only two to ever ‘break the badge’ at Buster Rhino’s downtown eatery, reaching the elusive 100 level mark on Untappd.

Davis, who is also known for his knowledge of the inner workings of Oshawa’s city politics, also volunteered at several previous Durham Craft Beer Festivals.

While Davis’ involvement with the Biltmore Theatre would seem to make it a favorite as the 2022 festival site this fall, he is keeping the location hush-hush for the moment.

“We’re trying to build some excitement and interest and there are still some balls in the air,” he said. The actual date is not yet firmed up, he added, but the tentative date is mid to late October, which does not rule out an outdoor location.

“In the upcoming days and weeks, we will be transferring other social media accounts, websites, emails, etc., as we prepare for the real announcement, date and location of the Fall 2022 Durham Craft Beer Festival.”

Davis said he has already had a few conversations with some local brewers, including the folks at New Ritual in Oshawa, who have been earning rave reviews for their beer and are eager to be involved.

(With New Ritual and All or Nothing, the city has two craft breweries now, versus zero when the last festival was held four years ago.)

“The number of vendors will depend on space, but we’re hoping between 15 and 20. The focus will be on local, yes, but also on quality brewers throughout the province,” he said. “We’re also planning to do something to help Second Wedge in Uxbridge with their rebuilding efforts after the devastating tornado damage.”

There is a lot of work ahead, but Davis and Leonard are looking forward to the challenge.

“Cheers to Darryl and Beth Koster for starting all of this and thank you for the opportunity to revive a much needed downtown beer event!”

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