IBG Bill of Rights for Beer Festivals and Events

With the explosive growth of beer festivals and events held each year, and the increasing demand on Iowa breweries to donate beer and resources to those festivals and events, the Iowa Brewers Guild believes it is in the best interest of its membership to establish a Brewers Bill of Rights for such events.   

Given that objective, it should be understood that while the IBG offers this Bill of Rights as guidance to its membership, these are not intended to be declaratory mandates for member breweries to follow. Rather, every brewery should evaluate its own marketing practices and charitable donation policies when making event participation decisions. The criteria herein are designed as a best practices tool for both event organizers and brewery staff.


There are generally three common types of events:

  • For-profit events
  • 100% Not-for-Profit events
  • Events that advertise allocating a portion of event proceeds to a charitable cause


The objective of the for-profit event is clear and should be clearly understood by the IBG member. The objective of the individual(s) or entity running such an event is to make as much money as possible from ticket sales and related commerce stemming from that event.  

The objective of the 100% Not-For-Profit event is to raise money for a qualified 501 (c) (3) or 501 (c) (6) entity or organization and its mission cause. 

The objective of the event that purports to donate a portion of the proceeds of ticket sales and related commerce to a charitable cause is not as clear.  While some are well intentioned, the possibility of misleading the vendors or general public, lack of transparency and/or intentional misconduct is possible, and each event must be carefully examined to fully understand how the proceeds of such events are handled.  


Every brewery works extremely hard to craft its product and build its brand.  Therefore, the Iowa Brewers Guild offers the following declaration of rights so that every member may feel confident in knowing what should reasonably be expected from a festival or event promoter.  

1. Breweries Should Never Pay a Fee to Attend a Festival or Event.

Breweries and their necessary participating attendees have a right to attend a festival for free and should never be required to pay an entry fee or “table fee” to be a part of an event.  Breweries and their necessary attendees provide product, staff, and expertise to a festival, and any upfront fee for attendance without an adequate and equally compensable benefit for a reasonable number of brewery representatives is unwarranted.  

2. Breweries Should Never Provide Free Beer to For-Profit events. 

Breweries have a right to be fairly compensated for their beer.  Beer festivals and events have become big business with high profit margins if run correctly. Requesting that a brewer or brewery donate beer in exchange for the promoter “exposing a brand to the public” or “getting a brewery name out there” dismisses the work a brewery has invested in creating its beer and brand and the value each brewery brings to an event. Regardless of size or stage of development, breweries are businesses that make their livelihood on the product they create and should be duly compensated for their work. 

3. Breweries Are Entitled to Proof of Licensing & Insurance of Events.

Every brewery has a right to receive proof that the festival or event in which they have agreed to participate in has been properly licensed by the promoter, covers the participating brewery, and is properly insured for what the festival or event is doing.  

4. Breweries Are Entitled to Reasonable Compensation for Time & Travel.

Breweries have a right to be reasonably compensated for their expenses for attending a festival in which they are participating.  This can vary depending upon the distance traveled to the festival and the number of festival sessions.  For necessary brewery attendees traveling a distance, this should mean either a hotel room, or stipend for such expense.  Other expenses may include meals or mileage expenses.  

5. Breweries Have a Right to Proof of Valid Not-For Profit Status and Proportion of Proceeds Donated. 

Breweries have the right to be charitable.  However, breweries also have the right to written proof that a festival organizer, or promoter which claims to be a charitable organization, is a valid 501(c) not-for-profit entity. Moreover, breweries have the right to clearly know what proportion of proceeds from the event are being given to a not-for-profit organization.  


Best Practices for Event Organizers

When contacting breweries to participate in your event, please include the following information to receive strongest consideration:

Event name:


Date of Event:

Location of event:

Compensation (travel stipend, mileage reimbursement, accommodations, beer purchase, etc.):

Amenities (tables, ice, tent, food, etc):

Proof of Insurance

Non-profit status/EIN:

Name of benefactor(s) (if other than organizer):

Amount of donation to non-profit/charitable organization(s):