A local event for local people is the philosophy behind the Rivercity Craft Beer Festival.
The festival will return to the Whanganui Musicians Club at Queens Park Pukenamu next weekend, and organiser Andy Henshaw, of Roots Brewing Co, said this year there would be two sessions on the day, such was the demand for tickets for 2019's inaugural festival.
"Last year we sold out and had about 150 people on a waiting list for tickets," Henshaw said.
"Our first session is from 11am to 3pm and the second one is from 5pm to 9pm. In that two-hour break we'll be frantically running around getting everything ready to go again.
"We're limited in terms of the number of people we can have in there, but it's good because there's enough space for people to move around and talk to their mates. If it's too full, you've got to wait to get a beer, and that's no good at all."
Henshaw said six breweries would take part in the festival, including Concept Brewing, who would be travelling from Christchurch.
"Chris Hayton from Brews on Drews will also be doing a home brew demonstration.
"He'll be bringing along a small brewing kit and setting up a stand, and he'll actually be brewing during the festival so people can talk to him and see what's involved in the process.
"It's a great hobby. I started this as a hobby and got a little obsessed, but not everyone has to go to the extent that I have. It can just be a fun thing to do at home."
Roots Brewing Co had managed to "pay the bills and keep the lights on" during Covid-19, Henshaw said, but now, with Whanganui at alert level 1, he hoped the community would "come out of hibernation" and support local events more than ever.
"I purposely made it on the weekend before Labour Weekend because it's a local beer fest for local people.
"A lot of people go away for Labour Weekend, so I wanted to make sure they could come to a beer fest in their own city."
The continued growth of New Zealand's craft beer industry mirrored that of the world, Henshaw said.
"In the early 80s there were two brewing companies in New Zealand, now there's over 200. Just in the past decade the numbers have gone up astronomically.
"The beauty of being a small brewery is that we largely serve the local market, it's local beer for local people.
"That allows us to do things like the Cemetery Circuit Pale Ale, when we brewed a beer specifically for that event last year, and we're embarking on a venture for the Waimarie as well, where they're going to have a range of beers, which they'll stock on the boat.
"Having all these local connections is great, and it's all here for us. We don't need to go to the big city."
The Rivercity Craft Beer Festival will be held on Saturday, October 17, with music by Blue Veinz, Damn Raucous Brass, Timon and the Time Machine, and Heavy Blarney.
To purchase tickets, go to www.whanganui.beer