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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington’s new convention center is supposed to be a home for all sorts of events. But it won’t be the home of the Cape Fear Beer Fest scheduled for next month.

According to the festivals web site, the event has been postponed because of a liquor permit problem. It says the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission notified organizers that the convention center’s liquor permit does not allow for a beer festival.

The Cape Fear Beer Fest originally scheduled for June 18 was supposed to feature more than 60 kinds of international beers along with live music. But according to the festival’s Facebook page and website the event has been postponed saying, “Although we are contracted with the convention center, the legal department of the North Carolina ABC has notified us that the convention center liquor permit does not allow for a beer festival under the terms that were specified in our mutual agreement.”

We reached out to Beer Fest organizer John Horton numerous times today to find out more about the mutual agreement, but we were told by text message to refer to the statement on the website. Horton added that bumps in the road happen in business.

In an e-mail later. Horton explained that the permitting would have to shift from the Wilmington Convention Center to the show promoter.

According to the ABC the event would involve ticket sales that would allow a ticket holder access to beer vendors. This kind of arrangement requires a special, one-time permit and the participation of a non-profit organization requesting the permit. The ABC said the current agreement would be a so-called “happy hour” violation of the convention center’s retail permits. The breweries would also need special prior approval from the a-b-c commission to participate.

We tried to learn more about the specifics about the permit confusion, but the convention center only refereed us to the e-mail sent out by the festival’s promoter.

Organizers say the cape fear beer fest has now been moved to September 17 hopefully at the convention center.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest333

    Guest Lee,

    Good post! However, we forgot homelessness!

    Homelessness, due to the 50+ non-profits during the past few years who aided people from far off places in their quest for a “disability check”, food stamps, free clothes, voucers for just about everything, Pell grants, free shelters and free food…etc.

    The dye was cast and the takers came a looking… They found Wilmington quaint and forgiving…and they stayed. They became a part of the fabric to the once enjoyable DOWNTOWN, where you used to be allowed to PARK for free right in front of City Hall!

    DARE I ask…have you ever tried to go to the library or Greenfield Lake downtown during the day… let alone the NIGHT? Homeless people comfortable with hustle, (whether it is shaking down unsuspecting tourists and locals or “hustling” among themselves… it is too MUCH, and that is before the prevalance of Drugs and Hookers… Bars really do fit right in!

  • Guest333

    What on earth made me think that the bar owners wanted to assimilate into Wilmington better than resorting to name calling? What made me believe that they were bonified business owners and better educated than some of their posts? ?

  • Lord Lucan


    Since you “own two bars downtown,” I assume you live in the downtown area.

    Please allow me to make a suggestion. I suggest you take a remedial English course at Cape Fear Community College. Your spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills are in desperate need of improving.

    Or did you have one beer too many before posting your angry little tidbit.

  • Guest3293

    You are the one who should “have a life”!! There are laws that prevent smokers from harming the lungs of people in the public. There should also be a law to prevent the public from having to endure with the stupidity of public drunkeness. There are countless numbers of families that are victims of death and injuries that have been caused by drinking alcohol at “social events”. If the morons choose to drink alcohol, it should be done in the privacy of their homes….without access to vehicle keys!!! Is it possible for you to think of a life without alcohol??????????????????

  • GuestLee

    Funny how bar owners resort to name calling when they can’t think of a mature response. Name calling….nice.

    I sure would like to know how a house could increase ten fold in value over the past 10 years, according to you, because of numerous bars being added to downtown. So, 10 years ago you say it was all hookers and drugs. I got news for you, there’s still hookers and drugs downtown. Only now add your bars to it, and you’ve got stabbings, shootings, gangs, and murders. Yep, you’ve really improved the neighborhood there. What a joke!

  • Guest5555555555555555555555555

    I agree with check points. Now one wants to get hurt, killed or damaged to their vehicle by someone who has been drinking. If the Beer festival really wants to help, have someone there before they leave offering breathalyser tests. They pay for as they pay for entry to the festival. I am sure they don’t want a DUI, DWI, or any other ticket they could get with jail time.

  • Poobah

    That’s all we need, another party-till-you-puke event in downtown Wilmington.

    Who’s idea is this? The usual suspects–Wilmington bar owners?

    When the Beer Festival opens, every responsible citizen should demand that sobriety points be set up all over the county.

    Having been side-swiped twice within the city limits by drunk drivers in the past year, I’m getting a little sick of the alcohol fever so prevalent in this county.

    The purveyors of alcohol get away with . . . murder.

  • Native

    If you don’t like it here – move.

  • erik

    Whoever wrote the previous piece is a mooron! I own two bars downtown and didn’t have anything to do with this festival. Also if you are getting sick of what you refer to as a fever, why don’t you sell your house which by the way has increased in value ten fold since the only thing downtown ten years ago was hookers and drugs, and move to Saudi Arabia they don’t have an alcohol problem there!
    Have a great life stupid!

  • guesty


  • Guest421

    The ones that make downtown such a cesspool are the ones that need to move, (hint, hint). I think they are having some kind of bike week at Myrtle Beach, why not go there with your drinking? Keep all the trolls in the same area.

  • You better let that money pit do something or move in,because it’s yours .And really stay off the roads,if you would let someone sideswipe you,you need to get off the road too! This town is full bad drivers and the drunks are just a few .

  • Guest333

    We’re HERE TO STAY! …and because we believe in Free Speech, we will continue to lambaste anything that we choose to and we will also give credit where credit is due.

    Like now, I credit you to thinking that you have some sort of weird “ownership” on Wilmington, because you were born and bred here…
    Guess what? You do not own Wilmington, so QUIT telling people who contribute greatly to Wilmington with their talents and their tax dollars to LEAVE.

    WE are allowed to EXPRESS OURSELVES! Good, bad or indifferent!

    In fact, I have exercised that Consttutional right and called New York,Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and Connecticut and told them “we’re open for business and have “LOTSA” cheap houses on the market from people who inherited them from their parents and can’t even cut the grass, let alone pay their taxes.

  • BooHooHoo, BooHooHoo, Waaaah!!!! Waaaah!
    I am so tired of hearing the crabby old fart, stick in the mud lame duck, OH! my goodness Bible thumping Hypocritical morons cry about downtown noise or drinking or whatever complaint it is this week.
    Quit your whining and find something constructive to do with your time. Like maybe looking up the facts about your completely one-sided, lop-sided, view on life!!!!
    Stop making life difficult on others and get help for your introverted, prudish and stuck-up mental problems.
    There are those of us who can and do responsibly enjoy ourselves downtown. We would like to continue to do so. I like the variety of options our downtown provides. For you to try and limit these options to just the things you like is selfish. You are like spoiled children that throw a tantrum when things do not go their way.
    More power to the bar owners, the restaraunt owners, the shop owners and anyone else that wants to make a living in downtown Wilmington.
    To anyone else who wants to hurt or limit the businesses downtown from succeeding. I got one finger for ya!!!!

  • Guest461

    Well, I’d have to bet that one finger is stuck in a crevass where you may sit (along with your head)! The ONLY people that hurt or limit downtown businesses are your lovely city council members preserving self-interests and your irresponsible, out of control bar mongers that trash the downtown area every weekend after dark, wobbling drunk, puking, pissing and fighting at every opportunity!

    Anyone that even considers starting a business in the downtown area is asking for disaster before they even get started!

  • Guest333

    “who wants to hurt or limit the businesses downtown from succeeding.”

    It isn’t the gerneral, law-abiding public!

    We have never been involved in a murder scene on Market Street,that spilled out from a BAR, that is now closed and prohibited from re-opening. Now… “who wants to hurt or limit the businesses downtown from succeeding”?

    Don’t try to shift the BLAME…I do not want to be forced to remind you about the rapes in the alleys and dark pathways, the sex in the mens room, the vomit in the limos and cabs, the urine and defecatiion in the PUBLIC parking garages….Lovely!!! ;,(

    To thine own self, be true. Ask yourself your own question,
    “who wants to hurt or limit the businesses downtown from succeeding”????

  • GuestLee

    Did I miss something? Aren’t you the only one mentioning religion in these posts?

    The worst tantrum I see being thrown on this website is yours, and if anyone sounds like they have a mental problem, it’s you. You’re the one who sounds like the spoiled rotten little brat here.

    If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. And your finger? The only use you probably give it is sticking it up your…..nose. You sound like a total loser.

  • Guest1234

    Why is it when the mention of beer and downtown, ALWAYS the bars fault? The bar owners are not the ones out drinking and driving. It is supposed to be the ones who are doing the consumings responsibility to take a cab or ride with a non drinking party. The ones who are supposed to be the adults, have a mind and make up their own mind to drink, get drunk, get behind the wheel of a car and drive. NOT the bar owners. I am tired of reading the same old mess over this. I say No to the use of the convention center for the beer feast. It is too pretty of a place to use it for that. Let them have their day in the park. That is where all that mess is usually held. Let the drunks fall out in the roads while trying to cross the street. When, one of them get run tha hell over, maybe Wilmington will not allow anymore open drinking beer feast. But, quit blaming the bars.

  • Guest3293

    When a person is drinking alcohol, they are not capable of taking responsibility for their actions. We could compare their mind to a baby’s mind. If a baby wants candy all day, it is the parents’ responsibility to determine that it is not good for them to have candy all day. If a person is in your bar drinking, it is your responsibility to limit the amount of alcohol he/she comsumes. When a person is drunk on the alcohol you have provided for them, that drunk should be your responsibility since the drunk is not capable of making a rational decision. So go figure….you let them get drunk, you take care of them. Yes, bars SHOULD be the blame, so it is up to YOU to change the image of your place of business.

  • Very uncool Ramone.

    It’s late, but I got a call about this article so I figured since you have an opinion, I may as well chime in.

    I am the controller of the company that was holding the Cape Fear Beer Fest on June 18 at the Wilmington Convention Center. The reason I didn’t answer your calls today is because I had a meeting with the convention center at 3:30 today to work out the kinks, and find a resolution. It would be wrong to answer questions to you and your TV station prior to meeting with them. I did however, contrary to your articles’ depiction send you a written statement before your deadline that explained in detail that we had moved forward and had settled on a new date in September.

    While some of what was stated in your article is true, it is also inflammatory and short-sighted. The Wilmington Convention Center did not set out to hurt my company. I am a supporter of downtown and the Convention center. Yes, it’s inconvenient to postpone our first event but, a delay weighed against many successes in the future is a win for Wilmington, the Convention Center and my comppany.

    Question? Why does a reporter call me 3 times in one day want to talk about an event at the convention center that has been postponed, rather than call me just once to find out about the actual event?

    Cape Fear Beer Fest – September 17, 2011


  • SurfCityTom

    you’ve ever been to Savannah for St Patricks Day, you know alcohol can be consumed moderately and with proper police controls and check points. And that is legally, on the street

    Having said that, the Center Director should have known better and should have had a better grasp of ABC statutes and the contract ramifications. Ata time when the Center needs to begin providing financial results, this is pitiful.

    Perhaps a new Director or Marketing Coordinator is needed.

  • Bruce

    Why does it literally take an act of congress to sell a beer in this state? It’s an annual festival that has gone on for years. Why should it be this difficult to put on a one day event? I’m sure if it was put on by the Azalea Festival people, we would not be having this conversation. You don’t see any A.L.E. agents at their garden party, do you? I think the ABC board’s power should be drastically reduced. While you’re at it, the A.L.E. should be disbanded. Maybe that will help with the state’s budget deficit.

  • Guest461

    Carolina Beach made a full success out of the “Wilmington-shunned and banned” Wing-Fling! Plus, the organizers made a generous donation to assist the elderly people of the island. Can’t get much nicer than that!

    Bring ’em on down to CB! We like beer and we like people! Who needs to book an event at a silly convention center that NOBODY wanted anyway?

  • GuestLee

    I totally agree….let’s send ALL the drunks to Carolina Beach. Sounds good to me!!!

  • Guest461

    …just the beerfest and law abiding participants like we had at the Wing Fling.

  • Guest26

    How old are you? Each person should be responsible for THEIR behavior. Not everyone who drinks are drunks. They definately aren’t babies who want candy. Actually, whoever gives a baby candy is stupid. There are laws in place to keep people who are drunk off the roads, its the person who has the keys that has to make that choice. the bar owner cannot stand by everyones car to make sure they don’t drive. If someone drives while drunk they deserve to go to jail and lose their liscense. Alcohol has been around as long as human civilazation and it is not going anywhere. learn to love not hate.


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