Happy Harry’s Pork & Brew makes a successful comeback after hiatus due to COVID

Alerus Center staff expected a sellout of all 2,500 tickets. All 500 VIP tickets sold out.

Eric Roeder from Tavern United serves Susan Olson and Alan Olson at Happy Harry's Pork and Brew event on Jan. 28, 2023, at the Alerus Center.
Sav Kelly / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — Happy Harry’s annual Pork & Brew returned to the Alerus Center on Saturday, Jan. 28, and staff anticipated all 2,500 tickets to sell.

“We seem to be picking up right where we left off … People were, in no uncertain terms, hungry for this event to come back,” said Derek Hoffert, assistant general manager and director of partnerships at the Alerus Center.

The event made a comeback after a couple years of hiatus due to COVID-19.

Susan and Alan Olson told the Herald their first time at Pork & Brew was going great, as they picked up samples of a bacon dish from Tavern United.

“I’m not a beer drinker but he’s trying it all, so I’ll drive home,” Susan Olson said.


The event began at 3:30 p.m. for VIP ticket-holders and 5 p.m. for general admission.

All 500 VIP tickets sold out, according to Hoffert.

VIP tickets granted access to the “VIPig Pen” that included a BLT bar, a bloody mary bar and a smoked pig. VIP guests were given two tickets for free bloody marys and two tickets for free Shiner beers.

All tickets included beer, cider and seltzer samples from vendors, various bacon dishes and a commemorative Happy Harry’s Pork & Brew glass.

There was an increase in the number of vendors this year. There were nine bacon vendors and more than 40 beer, cider and seltzer vendors— highlighting a total of 170 drinks.

“Happy Harry’s always puts on an amazing event. … It’s good to be back. It’s good to see so many people come back out to it,” said Alexa Swanston, who ran the Summit Brewing Co. booth.

Swanston said Summit Brewing Co. has been a vendor at Pork & Brew as long as it's been around, but it was her seventh personal time in attendance.

All guests could cast votes for the best bacon dish and best drink.


The Smith & Loven Six-String Circus performed from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the Jimmy River Band performed from 6 to 8 p.m.

There were also yard games, ax throwing and a bacon eating contest.

Sav Kelly joined the Grand Forks Herald in August 2022.

Kelly covers public safety, including local crime and the courts system.

Readers can reach Kelly at (701) 780-1102 or
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