By Stephen Seitz
LUDLOW–People love a cold beer, even if icy temperatures dominate a spring afternoon.
With the success of the annual Hops in the Hills beer festival in the summer, marketing professionals at Okemo Mountain Resort decided to see if it would work in the late winter. Thus Hops in the Snow was born.
When Mt. Holly resident Mark Kasabuski was asked if he was there for the beer or the skiing, he said, “Both. I came up because of this,” he said. “I’m surprised at the turnout. I thought I’d just come down from skiing and have a couple of beers early.”
In theory, the idea was to take advantage of early spring temperatures for some late-season skiing and a little light entertainment. Instead, the Saturday event got a perfect mid-February day: cold and windy, but with plenty of skiers on the slopes.
Events marketing manager Dennis Brady also said he was surprised at the turnout. The event found itself nearly out of beer by 2:30 p.m. “We had 500 glasses and got rid of them all,” Brady said. “We’ve only got some reserve beer left, and this is supposed to run until 4 o’clock.”
There was more to the event than just beer and skiing, of course. An outdoor grill on the Jackson Gore terrace provided food, and Boston-based Studio Two, a tribute band specializing in early Beatles hits, provided music.
Brady said all 10 participants from the summer festival signed on, which he saw as an encouraging sign.
“We’re building a relationship with all the brewers,” he said. “Hops in the Hills is built off the summer event. I think we’ll double it next year. There is a lesson to be learned: there is a demand!”