Hamilton will host one of the South Island's favourite events as the Great Kiwi Beer Festival launches in the city next year.
More than 40 craft breweries and cider producers from around the country will showcase their best brews alongside an eclectic selection of food trucks and local restaurants.
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival has exclusively been held in Christchurch for the past seven years, but event director Callam Mitchell says it is time to bring it to the North Island.
He's now expecting more than 10,000 craft beer and cider lovers converge on the city on Saturday March 7, 2020.
He says the event is a "celebration of the burgeoning craft beer industry in New Zealand".
"The volume of craft beer produced in this country has trebled over the past five years – and New Zealand has more breweries per head of population than anywhere else in the world.
"In the eight years we've been running the Great Kiwi Beer Festival in Christchurch, we have seen the Kiwi craft beer industry go from strength to strength and it feels like the time is right to bring the festival to the North Island."
Asked why target Hamilton, Mitchell said it was a growing city "with so much potential" and they wanted to bring other events to the area in the future.
"The physical location means the festival will be accessible for a large number of people - not just within Hamilton but also the wider Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland regions.
"We're taking a long-term view to build this festival and potentially deliver other events in the region."
Claudelands was an ideal venue as it was centrally located and had a good mix of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Mitchell said there was a wealth of brewing talent in the Waikato and across the central North Island which meant "Hamilton makes perfect sense as the new North Island home for the festival".
As for the event, he said it had a "strong emphasis on education", with free craft beer workshops and food and beer matching sessions held through the duration of the event.
Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson said having a large-scale, multi-faceted event like the Great Kiwi Beer Festival was a great addition and he hoped it would become a permanent, annual event in the region.
In the past, the festival has featured a strong line-up of renowned Kiwi and Australian musical talent – the Christchurch events have seen Dave Dobbyn, Pseudo Echo, Dragon, Salmonella Dub, The Black Seeds, The Mockers and more take to the stage.
Who would perform and what breweries would feature at the festival would be announced at a later date.