More than a dozen breweries will bring their suds to Sovereign Bank Stadium this weekend for Yorktoberfest. In this photo from 2011’s event, beer is
More than a dozen breweries will bring their suds to Sovereign Bank Stadium this weekend for Yorktoberfest. In this photo from 2011's event, beer is poured for attendees at the stadium. (SUBMITTED)
I love beer.

But I also love wine.

And apparently, that makes me part of a minority.

Most people who imbibe tend to gravitate toward one or the other, said Matthew Davis, one of the brains behind the Yorktoberfest Wine and Beer Festival this weekend at York's Sovereign Bank Stadium. As the name suggests, the festival caters to both camps, giving friends and couples who have differing beverage preferences the rare chance to share a toast.

For those who aren't drinking, the festival features a designated driver option with a free T-shirt and complimentary root beer.

Davis has done his research on regional events and said Yorktoberfest is the only offering of its kind. The event, previously called Wine in the City, didn't include beer until it was rebranded last year.

The addition was a success: It drew about 600 people each day and turned an unexpected profit of about $7,000, which Davis said was divvied up among charities and organizations.

Since his family makes wine and he hopes to brew his own beer soon, Davis is neutral on what to drink at the festival. But on a recent Tuesday, he enjoyed a DuClaw Macchiato Milk Stout at Holy Hound Taproom.

"I just love beer," he said. "I want people to try beer ... and for $20, why not?"

Last year, Yorktoberfest featured 13 brews. This year, Davis handpicked 44 brews and counting, including one targeted to wine drinkers.

"It's a gateway beer," he said with a laugh.

For those not easily swayed, the festival features a separate wine tasting ticket with access to vintages from nine wineries.


But Davis doesn't want folks to just sample the wine, he wants them to talk to vintners and possibly buy a bottle.

Last year's festival served as a learning process for Davis and his business partner Brian Dudley. Davis, an IT guy with an MBA, taught himself graphic design to brand the event, which is tied to the 6-year-old Taste of Pennsylvania Wine and Music Festival held in May at the York Expo Center.

This year, Yorktoberfest planning started in the spring and promotion kicked off with a Beer Garden during Taste of Pennsylvania.

Since there's not really a model for a festival of Yorktoberfest's scope, Davis worked with the state's Liquor Control Board on setup.

Yorktoberfest licensed a patch of land on the infield in which to serve beer. And each winery licensed its spot along the perimeter.

Unlike other events, Yorktoberfest features unlimited wine and beer. But Davis said festivals that serve alcohol could be facing crackdowns for over-serving. In anticipation of stricter policies, York-

toberfest will initiate a flagging system this year.

Cutting customers off can be uncomfortable, Davis said, so he devised an interactive approach. Yellow flags will be placed around the stadium, so visitors can throw a flag if someone drops a glass or commits another party foul - a telltale sign of inebriation.

If beer isn’t your thing, Yorktoberfest will feature many wine vendors.
If beer isn't your thing, Yorktoberfest will feature many wine vendors. (SUBMITTED)

Servers, who have been trained, will get red flags and will throw them if a customer is intoxicated. Bouncers will then remove that person's wristband. They can remain on site - preferably to drink water and eat food - but will be ejected if they try to get another drink.

The policy, Davis added, is explained on festival brochures and posters. He's also posted reasoning for festival decisions on Facebook.

"It makes you a better beer drinker," he said. "You're not there to be drunk; you're there to taste beer."

It will still be an adjustment, which Davis said he hopes doesn't affect the festival's great word-of-mouth publicity.

This year, Davis expects about 1,000 people Saturday and Sunday - as long as the weather holds. The event is on track to sell out. Most ticket-holders are from York County, Harrisburg, Gettysburg, Baltimore and the greater Philadelphia area. Two are from New Zealand.

In the future, Davis hopes to control the festival's growth and evolve it into a way to better promote York's beer and food.

This year's event features a Yorktoberfeast - a four-course meal from Andrew Barnes of The Busy Bee that's paired with wine or beer and served Friday at the former Lafayette Club. Davis said the concept could turn into a monthly Yorktoberfest dinner series.

As the event expands, Davis hopes to channel funds into a scholarship program or holiday toy giveaway.

And whether you love beer, wine or both like me, that should earn a collective cheer.

PopEye is a bi-weekly column focusing on the ever-changing landscape of popular culture. To reach writer Erin McCracken, call 717-771-2051 or send an email to

Breweries included:

Anchor Brewing Co.

Dogfish Head Brewery

Goose Island Beer Co.

Kind Beers

Kona Brewing Co.

Lavery Brewing Co.

Long Trail Brewing Co.

Mudhook Brewing Co.

Otter Creek Brewing

Penn Brewery

Rogue Ales

Roy Pitz Brewing Co.

Sixpoint Brewery

Sam Adams

South County Brewing Co.

Spring House Brewing Co.

Troegs Brewing Co.

Wineries included:

Bee Kind Winery

Heritage Wine Cellars

Red Shale Ridge Winery

Sand Castle Winery

Sorrenti's Cherry Valley Vineyards

Starr Hill Winery

Stonekeep Meadery

Tamanend Winery

University Wine Co.


Mark DeRose - 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. Saturday

Shane Speal- 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. Saturday

The Lone Wolf Project - 12:15 to 2:15 p.m. Sunday

Mike Males & American Hollar - 2:45 to 4:45 p.m. Sunday

Read an interview with Phil Freeman, aka The Lone Wolf Project.

If you go

The Sons of the American Legion present the second annual Yorktoberfest to raise funds for local, regional and national organizations. The event runs Saturday and Sunday at Sovereign Bank Stadium, 5 Brooks Robinson Way, York. Gates open at noon and wine is served at that time. Beer serving starts at 1 p.m. Visitors have the choice to sample beer, wine or root beer.

Beer passes are $20 in advance and $30 at the gate. Wine passes are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Designated Driver passes, which include water, rootbeer and a free T-shirt, cost $10.

For details and tickets, visit

See us Sunday

If you head downtown Sunday, don't miss York Daily Record zombies at the York Halloween Parade.

And be sure to stop by FlipSide's table at Yorktoberfest. We'll be signing folks up for our weekly newsletter and entering them in a random drawing for tickets to Aimee Mann's

Nov. 2 show at Penn State York's Pullo Family Performing Arts Center.

First anniversary

Liquid Hero Brewery hosts a One Year Celebration 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the brewery, 50 E. North St., York. Both nights will feature live music in the garage and food and beer in the parking lot. Yorktoberfest participants are welcome to stop by after the festival Saturday night. For details, visit