Niagara Gazette —
The mayor said that Fruscione’s characterization of the event as a beer swilling party is not accurate. Beer festivals require specific licensing that requires all proceeds to go to a nonprofit and limits the amount of beer that can be served in each glass, he said.
“It involves giving samples of beer. There’s a pour line that’s pretty tightly regulated,” Dyster said. “It’s something that craft breweries do in order to try to get exposure for their products.”
Documents supplied by Lou Townsend, the NACC’s director of finance, show that while the organization spent $11,748 over the last three years to host the event, it took in $49,944, making for a net gain of $37,926 for the arts center.
The center has operating costs that consistently exceed $400,000 and the Art of Beer — the center’s most profitable fundraising event — helps to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of the building, Townsend said.
Councilman Charles Walker said he doesn’t see an issue with the city giving money to the NACC, despite Dyster’s former involvement with and continuing financial support of the organization.
And as for the Art of Beer, he said he doesn’t see it as a waste of money if the organization is bringing in money.
“If they use $5,000 to take in $20,000 then they’re quadrupling their money,” Walker said. “It’s not a party, it’s a fundraiser.”
Rebecca Dyster said that her business loses money participating in Art of Beer and that she participates in it to support an institution that both she and her husband believe does a lot of good for the city.
She donates her time, the time of her employees and closes her store a few hours early to take part in the event, she said.
“I’m not only not making money, I’m spending money,” Rebecca Dyster said. “That’s not why we do it.”
Mug of Fruscione, Sam Sam Fruscione Questions fundraiser