Five years after setting its foot into Malaysia, The Better Beer 2017 event which is originally slated to happen on 6 and 7 October at Publika, has been cancelled.
The announcement of this cancellation comes a week after PAS central committee member Riduan Mohd Nor spoke against the event, calling it a pesta maksiat (vice party). The cancellation is expected to affect the huge lineup of partners and sponsors of The Better Beer 2017, also dubbed Malaysia's largest craft beer festival. The two-day event supposed to bring in more than 250 different beers made by 43 independent breweries across 12 countries.
Breweries and brands which have reportedly taken part in this year's festival include Thailand’s Happy New Beer and Sandport Beer; Vietnam’s Pasteur Street Brewing Co; Japan’s Yo-Ho Brewing Company and Echigo Koshihikari; UK's Brewdog, Buxton Brewery and Harviestoun Brewery; Australia's 2 Brothers Brewing Co and Hawkers Beer; Denmark's Amager Bryghus and Mikkeller Brewing; as well as the Anderson Valley Brewing Co and Rogue Ales from the United States.
With a huge range of small-batch beers, festival food, and a rocking live music lineup, The Better Beer 2017 was also slated to bring in a host of food vendors, with local bands entertaining the crowd with a mix of pop hits, R&B and jazz. Other beer-centric activities include a craft beer cocktail class hosted by Pahit, meet-the-brewers sessions, where attendees could geek out with top regional brewers about brewing techniques, and beer appreciation sessions, where one can learn to appreciate the nuanced flavours of selected craft beers.
Uber was one of the supporting partners as well. As part of its "Don’t Drink & Drive" campaign launch, attendees of this year's festival were set to get promo codes "BBF2017" for their rides to and from the festival. The ride hailing app also roped in The Signature Hotel & Serviced Suites Kuala Lumpur to offer attendees a special rate for limited rooms with a mention of its promo code "BBF2017."
Uber's spokesperson declined on A+M's request to comment on the matter.
According to several local media reports, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) did acknowledge that the application made on 28 Aug to hold the festival before announcing the rejection. The festival organiser, Mybeer which operates Changkat Bukit Bintang's Taps Beer bar also announced its application was rejected by DBKL, citing that “the decision was made due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event”.
Organiser MyBeer said it expected about 6,000 people to show up for this year’s festival.
“It is with disappointment that we, the organisers of The Better Beer Festival 2017, would like to announce that the festival, slated to be held on Oct 6 and 7, 2017, will not be proceeding as scheduled. At our meeting with the officials at the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, we were instructed to cancel our event as there are issues with the licensing," Mybeer said in a press statement.
"We were further informed that the decision was made due to the political sensitivity surrounding the event. We regret any inconvenience caused to our patrons, partners and sponsors, and thank you for your unwavering support over the last week,” it added.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz had refused to comment on DBKL's decision when approached by the media at a recent key hand-over ceremony for the Seri Aman People’s Housing Project. According to Malay Mail, when asked whether the issue was too sensitive as it touched religious and political grounds.
Meanwhile, several craft beer lovers also took to Twitter to express their disappointment:
Non Muslims no need to worry about syariah; doesn't affect you, they say. So how do you explain the Better Beer Festival cancellation?
— Baba Pepper Lim (@pepperlim) September 18, 2017
The Better Beer Festival was first held in 2012, at Changkat Bukit Bintang's Taps Beer Bar, and it only attracted about 200 people. Last year, it managed to draw 3,500 attendees to its festival.