Celebrating the local beverage scene

Imagine a place where Nebraskans can gather to indulge in beers, wines, and spirits made right in their state. This environment exists, and it’s filled with tastings, artisans, and food vendors excited to introduce others to their craft. Look no further than Sip Nebraska—the only festival dedicated to celebrating Nebraska’s beloved beverage industry. 

Despite its name, Sip Nebraska is more than an event centered around drinking—it’s an opportunity to support local businesses, connect with a passionate community, and enjoy a fun day with others in an energizing environment. For 10 years, Sip has brought people together in the spring and fall to revel in Nebraska businesses. The 2023 spring festival took place at Mahoney State Park, which also offered guests the opportunity for a weekend getaway in nature.

Blur Events (formally known as Blur Parties) hosts the festival with a mission to bring together local craft beer, wine, and spirit lovers in an environment that recognizes the state’s extensive beverage industry. From ticket sales to customer service, the team at Blur Events produces each of its functions from start to finish. “The more events we do, the more we get to know the owners and develop relationships with them,” Event and Project Manager Maggie Miseno said. 

Rather than host a week-long festival, Sip dedicates one day twice a year to its festivities, which Miseno said often results in strong connections being formed with vendors. “It’s fun to talk to them for months and then finally get to meet them the day of the event.” The festival strives for lasting relationships with the festival-goers and vendors to make for the most valuable and successful experience. “We want them [vendors] to come back each year. We frame the event around what their experience will be like.” 

Participating in events is second nature for some vendors, but it’s a new experience for others. No matter one’s background, Sip’s goal is to host an even spread of small businesses in a non-competitive environment highlighting each one’s unique crafts. The balance between artisan, food, and activities brings something for everyone to enjoy. Although each vendor is given its own dedicated tent, Sip encourages them to “make it their own” and be as creative as possible with their space. Thus, many vendors will bring yard games or Bluetooth speakers to make their booth a party that people want to be at, versus a one-and-done sampling experience. 

Stroll around the festival to discover a variety of unique tents represented by distilleries, wineries, and breweries from across the state, all of which are ready to offer a memorable sampling experience. Attendees can greet each vendor with their complimentary sampling glass, and if they happen to fall in love with a bit of booze, they can purchase it to take home. Many sips later, the munchies are sure to hit, which makes for the perfect excuse to indulge in one of the many local food vendors scattered throughout the festival. Travel across one of the grass pathways and discover various entertainment options like live music, sip-and-learn events, lawn games, and even goat yoga.

Experimenting with new beverages offers endless avenues for the tastebuds, but doing so in an environment where people can learn about drink pairings, enjoy meaningful conversations and live music, and support local businesses shows the versatility of atmospheres within Sip Nebraska. The vendors that make up the event are more than small business owners—they are your neighbors down the street, local shops around the block, and people whose stories you are now a part of. It’s an event that honors the Nebraska beverage industry while offering a memorable, lasting experience for guests.

Cheers to that.

For more stories like this, visit Scene.

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