Token system means festival wasn't all beer and skittles

COMPLAINTS brewed over the plastic token system at the Esk Beerfest - but 10,000 people still managed to find their way to a beverage over the weekend.

Beerfest organisers said staff copped a wave of complaints from patrons on Friday night over the newly implemented drink token system, which sees $1 plastic chips exchanged for beverages instead of cash.

Patrons also vented their frustration on social media over extra time spent lining up for tokens and drinks, as well as being unable to refund leftover tokens at the end of the night.

Event spokeswoman Stacey File said organisers were quick to act on the complaints, offering refunds of up to $10, while allowing patrons to use the tokens at venues around town after the festival closed.

"We decided to trial the tokens this year because it was recommended to us, and because it is being used at more and more festivals around the country," she said.

"It helps with responsible service of alcohol, because there are two chances to catch someone who has had too much to drink.

"It also means the stallholders don't have to worry about cash lying around."

Yesterday's glorious afternoon sun provided perfect beer-drinking conditions - with several patrons backing up from a big Friday night to get around to the brews they missed.

Stuart Grant, of the newly opened Saint John Craft Beer bar, won the Beerfest Home Brew competition with his handcrafted Belgian-style wheat beer, Imperial Wit.

Mr Grant, 30, has been brewing for 10 years, and said he hopes to have his beverage on tap in the near future.

"It's a bit different, very flavoursome - I've had some great feedback," he said.

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