Guelph I Heart Beer Festival sells out Sleeman Centre

Guelph I Heart Beer Festival sells out Sleeman Centre

People enjoy craft beers and responsible drinking

A sold-out crowd enjoyed over 17 brews at the I Heart Beer Festival on April 29. Taking over the Sleeman Centre hockey arena in downtown Guelph, the festival offered local craft beers, local food, live music, colouring pages, yard games, and more.


Festival-goers enjoyed not only the craft beers but the experience as a whole.

“I love meeting new people and I love the whole game area over there,” said Sahil Kumar, who was visiting Guelph for his first time.  

Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion

The Ontarion sat down with Faron Benoit, I Heart Beer owner.

“It’s all about craft beer, really. We’re primarily promoting local craft brewers,” said Benoit about the I Heart Beer franchise.

The Ontarion asked Benoit to explain the difference between craft beer and other beer.

“Craft beer is local and it’s quality. That’s all you have to explain,” said Benoit, “It is trendy but it’s more than just a trend. You’re supporting people within your community.”

Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion

Farmers grow specific hops for brewers so craft beer not only supports local brewers but local farmers as well, Benoit added.

The Ontarion also asked Benoit about the impact of such festivals on university students and the culture of binge drinking.

“They’re learning. We promote responsible drinking; we promote not binge-drinking; we promote sampling. I honestly think starting on craft…especially if you’re young and you haven’t experienced that much beer before, that it’s a fantastic thing,” said Benoit.

Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion

“There’s a lot of things we do behind the scenes to try to prevent binge drinking. One is to have other things available,” said Benoit. Some of these measures were colouring books, live art, live music, games, and seating, which allow people to relax and talk.

Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion

The festival also discouraged drinking and driving by including a kiosk promoting Driverseat, an app that allows both you and your vehicle to be driven home if you are inebriated.  

Dana Bellamy | The Ontarion

Benoit wrapped up our talk by expressing what he wished he had known about craft beer when he was a university student.

“Because the ingredients [in craft beers] are better—because they’re better beers, they’re a little stronger—you can sit down and have one, and enjoy it, and not feel like you have to drink four of them in a row,” he said.

Benoit hopes that he will be able to repeat this craft beer festival each fall and spring in Guelph.

Mariah Bridgeman | The Ontarion

Photo by Mariah Bridgeman/The Ontarion.