Beers for the pool…not in the pool!

By on April 4, 2018


Jeff McSparran’s idea for a beer fest at Woodridge Swim Club last year was a success.


Jeff McSparran practically grew up at Woodridge Swim Club. It is one of the reasons he organized the first Woodridge Beer Fest in 2017.

“I swam there since I was five years old. I had my first job there, working at the snack bar,” said McSparran.

He went on to be a lifeguard at the private pool in Lititz for four years. He’s now married and has two boys who are on the Woodridge swim team. One night after an adult night at the pool he was sitting around with a few other members, including the pool manager, and the idea of a beer fest came to him while looking at the club’s expansive green area.

“I said, ‘we should throw a beer fest,’” remembered McSparran.

McSparran said many pools in the area are losing money.

“There’s such a huge cost to run them, but today kids have other things to do,” McSparran said. “When we were little we all went to the pool to cool off. Memberships are going down. As memberships have gone down, costs have also gone up.”

So, he set out to find 30 sponsors for the event, which he did, in order to offset some of the pool’s operating costs. He got in touch with small, semi-local breweries and the plan for the first Woodridge Beer Fest was in motion. As a fundraiser &tstr; note, the pool is a private, membership driven club, not a nonprofit, which McSparran is quick to point out &tstr; it was a success. Fast forward to today and he is at it again.

“If we get smaller, independent (breweries) it helps them promote their beer,” said McSparran. “And we just need a way to raise money for our pool because we can’t afford to run at a loss.”

The list of attending breweries for the intimate event is impressive, starting in Lancaster County with Lititz’s own (by way of Ice Avenue, Lancaster) Fetish Brewing Company, Mad Chef Craft Brewing, Cox Brewing Company, and Mount Gretna Craft Brewery. Mount Gretna is relatively new to the scene and will be bringing McSparran’s favorite Chiques Creek IPA and a saison they are working on. Neighboring counties will be represented by Tattered Flag Brewery & Still Works (Dauphin), South County Brewing Co. (York), and Chatty Monks Brewing (Berks). For cider drinkers (bless you all) Levengoods of Lancaster will be bringing their new lime-ginger cider, plus their popular original, cherry, and hopped varieties.

A VIP “early access” ticket (sold out) gets lucky ticket holders in 45 minutes early to enjoy cocktails from Lititz’s premiere distillery, Stoll & Wolfe Whiskey. Like they say, “liquor before beer, you’re in the clear…”

Crave Catering Company will be on site with food options, and entertainment will be provided by Funky Rooster. A few things to note if you plan to go: eventgoers must be 21 years of age and provide ID; the event is rain or shine; and there is no charge for DDs &tstr; gotta love that!

Roughly 200, $30 tickets remain for the fest, which can be purchased through The pool is closed during Woodridge Beer Fest. Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at and


Here are some photos from last year’s event….

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