Beer Festivals a Win-Win for Beer Lovers, Brewers

maflaoza's music city brewer's festival

mafiaoza's music city brewer's festival

 

By Amanda Haggard

In its 13th year, the annual Music City Brewer’s Fest remains one of the largest and well-attended beer festivals in the country. With more than 40 local, regional, national, and imported breweries represented at the daylong festival on July 19, the event is expected to draw more than 7,500 beer connoisseurs to the Walk of Fame Park in Nashville.

The Brewer Magazine sat down with Candace Price, events director for the festival, to talk industry strategy and why Nashville recently became a beacon for craft beer brewers and lovers alike.

What was the Music City Brewer’s Fest like in the early years? Has it gained more traction recently?

We started our event in 2002 and it was much smaller. There were probably four or so local brewers.  Craft beer has absolutely taken off over the last decade or so. There are over 40 brewers just in the state of Tennessee now.

Talk a little bit about why it’s important for fledgling breweries to get involved in events like the Music City Brewer’s Fest.

This event was created with the goal of providing a marketing opportunity for new brewers or any brewers that wanted to promote their product with a sampling opportunity.  It’s a great way to get a lot of people to try the product at one time.

We promote the event heavily through mass media and bring in people that are new to craft beer and are looking to try something new.  This is a great way to reach the novice consumer and turn them into a connoisseur.

Is there anything you’ve noticed as an evolution in the industry? New styles, larger selections?

There are all kinds of things happening with the industry. There are a ton of new brewers and a lot are playing with flavors; sours seem to be hot right now.

Nashville has made quite a name in craft brews; what would you attribute that to?

I think that we have some of the best brewers in the area. Yazoo, Boscos, and Blackstone helped pave the way for some of the newer brewers.

How do you think tourism is affected by local craft brews? Do people see beer as a destination drink these days? 

I think that tourism in Nashville is on fire at the moment and many people want to try the local brews that any city has to offer. Yes, I think people travel to visit Nashville and definitely see beer as a destination drink.  I will also say that we have people from pretty much every state in the U.S. that get tickets to our event and have been coming to Nashville for years for this festival.  I’m sure that people take into consideration all the great brewers that are here and visit many of the taprooms while they’re here too.

Talk a little bit about how the festival will support the community through donations to Second Harvest.

It’s definitely a win-win for brewers to get involved with an event like this.  We have had Second Harvest Food Bank as our nonprofit partner for 13 years.  We’ve donated well over $100,000-plus over the years to the organization and that provides a lot of meals for area families.  Many people don’t realize that kids that are on free lunches at school don’t have access to that during the summer months when they are out of school. Our support helps to feed the children and families that are hungry in our community.

We’ve got some excellent local breweries in Nashville. Who, in your mind, has the best summer brew?

I’m not sure that I’ve even had a chance to try them all, but I don’t think you can ever go wrong with Yazoo.

On that note, the fest features several out-of-towners. Are there any notable names that attendees should be excited about?

We have Great Lakes Brewing here again this year and they are one that is not normally available in Nashville, so for anyone that wants to try something different, they should definitely stop by their tent.  We do have some other first timers this year including: Tailgate, RJ Rocker’s, Old shed, Little Harpeth and Fat Bottom.

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