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BeerFest at the ballpark
Inaugural Charlotte BeerFest to be held Sept. 20
 
Published Thursday, July 31, 2014 4:46 pm
by Michaela L. Duckett

Beer lovers, mark your calendars for Charlotte BeerFest, which will be held September 20 at BB&T Ballpark.

Featured breweries will include OMB, Foothills, SweetWater, Oskar Blues, Natty Greene’s, Leinenkugel’s, D9 Brewery, Stella Artois, Magic Hat, Blue Moon, RJ Rockers, Goose Island and many others.

 “We are excited to host the inaugural Charlotte BeerFest and look forward to showcasing some of the world’s finest brews for the area’s beer enthusiasts,” said Charlotte BeerFest Executive Director Chris Boukedes. “We’re proud to celebrate this culture of craftsmanship and artisan brewing.”

A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Ace & TJ’s Grin Kids and the USO of North Carolina.

“It’s certainly a privilege and an honor to host this event,” said Dan Rajkowski, executive vice president and COO for the Charlotte Knights. “We’ve had a lot of functions going on throughout BB&T Ballpark, but the Charlotte BeerFest will probably be the premier largest one that we will have in our first year, so we are looking forward to it.”

With more than 110 breweries (and counting), North Carolina is one of the top 5 fastest-growing states in the nation for craft brewing. As the industry grows, Charlotte is quickly becoming a hotspot for beer enthusiasts.

“Charlotte has a tremendously fast-growing craft beer community,” said John Marrino, founder of OMB, Charlotte’s oldest brewery. “Five years ago there were no breweries in Charlotte. Now we have eight with several more on the way… The beautiful thing about craft beer is that it’s best when it’s fresh. So when it’s made locally, it’s fantastic.”

Marrino said beer festivals are a great way to introduce locals to the world of craft beer, which he said makes up only one percent of the Charlotte beer market.

“Beer is a wonderful food,” said Marrino. “It’s good for you, and it makes people smile. A festival like this just enhances that.”

Ray Goodrich, director of marketing and communications for Foothills Brewing, said given the opportunity to try hundreds of different craft beers in one setting, attendees are guaranteed to find at least one beer that they like.

“It’s really exciting to try something new,” he said. “Everybody’s always worried about calories, but the taste is really a great trade off.”

The festival will feature a variety of food, adult fun (must be 21 and older to enter) and live music with performances by the Grammy Award-winning band Blues Traveler along with local acts Simplified and Charity Case.

General admission tickets are $50 and include unlimited beer samples, a sampling cup and access to all performances, special beer-themed activities and contests. VIP tickets are $100 and include additional benefits such as expedited entry at the gates, VIP area, private beer tasting with exclusive craft beers, a gift bag and entry to an exclusive VIP hospitality suite.

Visit www.charlottebeerfest.com for more information or to purchase tickets.

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