Tupelo beer-tasting draws sold-out crowd

TUPELO – Downtown Tupelo’s sold-out harvest beer-tasting tonight elicited praise from both the participants and the businesses.
The event, called Hops & Stops, was modeled after Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association’s Wine Downtown event in the spring.
While the events both offered samples and the ticket prices were the same, organizers and businesses said they noticed a different crowd at the beer-tasting than at the wine-tasting.
Participants were younger, said Jack Phipps, owner of Phipps Salon & Gallery.
Barbara Fleishhacker, owner of the Main Attraction, said she saw more groups of men out tonight. For the wine event, many business owners commented that they had a lot of girl’s night out groups.
“People are having a good time and they’re liking it,” she said. “It’s a different group from the wine-tasting. I’ve never seen some of these people and it’s exciting.”
Chris and Lauren Cornett were some of those new faces. They didn’t make it to the wine-tasting, but Chris, a beer enthusiast, made a point to make the beer event so he could promote RaiseYourPints.com, a grassroots effort to legally get more craft beers in Mississippi.
“I’m trying to promote craft beer as much as possible,” he said.
His wife, Lauren, enjoyed the tasting and the shopping.
“We’ve had fun doing this,” she said. “The glasses are very nice.”
A free beer glass came with the ticket and was used as the tasting glass at each of the 13 stops.
Ashley Prince, co-owner of Caron Gallery, said she also saw a lot of new faces in her gallery.
“It takes events like this to get people to come in the door,” she said. “When people see what we have, I think they’ll be impressed, but it’s getting them in here. This is what gets them in here. They’re not necessarily buying tonight, but it introduces them to the gallery.”
Wesley Jones of Northwestern Mutual also was using the event to introduce himself to the community. He’s been with Northwestern Mutual for 16 years and in August, he moved his business to downtown Tupelo. He co-sponsored the event with Mitchell Distributing and said he thought it was a good business move.
“They sold 200 tickets and people have been calling all week trying to scramble for tickets,” he said. “We’ve been slammed since 5:30 p.m.”
All of the beers that were sampled tonight are on sale at Papa V’s in the Fairpark District, according to Main Street. The store sells the beers in a make-your-own six-pack.

Carlie Kollath