It is no secret that bourbon dominates this state, but the craft beer industry is growing in Kentucky. There are locally owned breweries and microbreweries scattered all around the state and it is my mission to travel to each and every one and tell their story.
Paducah is a not a Louisville or a Lexington. It’s Paducah. But, you know what it is very similar to between the three Kentucky cities? A love for craft beer.
The Paducah Symphony Orchestra took notice and started PaBREWcah, an annual craft beer festival in historic downtown Paducah.
“We wanted to contribute to the craft beer scene in Paducah and the Paducah Symphony Orchestra really needed a good fundraiser,” said Morgan Walker, the operations manager at the Paducah Symphony Orchestra. “And it seemed like a perfect fit at the time.”
“Both Dry Ground and Paducah Beer Werks had kind of just gotten started and were doing really good. It just seemed like a good fit.”
It was great timing for the city and craft beer lovers. But, how did this relationship between the symphony and craft beer happen?
The Paducah Symphony Orchestra had been in charge of the Biergarten at other festivals and the idea to start their own beer festival blossomed.
“It’s kind of an odd relationship, craft beer and the Paducah Symphony Orchestra,” Walker said. “But I think it works for us because it serves several purposes. It allows us to reach a broader audience than we’re accustomed to.”
“This is a much larger crowd than any concert we ever have. So we hope that this makes us maybe a little more approachable than we always have been. And we bring some new faces into the concert hall as well.”
It’s a win-win for both craft beer lovers in Paducah and the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.
The third annual PaBREWcah is this Saturday, June 16 at the Paducah-McCracken County Convention & Expo Center Parking Lot. This year’s festival will feature 29 breweries from across the country and over 60 beers.
Besides a new time and location, the year will feature a new VIP experience. People who purchase a VIP ticket will get to taste special tappings from Bell’s, West Sixth, MadTree, Paducah Beer Werks, SweetWater, Mill Creek and Samuel Adams.
In addition to the special tappings, VIP will experience a special bourbon tasting with Wagner Wine & Spirits in the VIP area.
Unlike other beer festivals, PaBREWcah does the tasting a little different. Each attendee receives a lanyard with a punch card. Everytime you fill up your commemorative 4oz taster glass, you receive a punch. General Admission tickets come with 10 punches with the ability to buy more. VIP tickets, of course, comes with more.
People were excited when they heard that Paducah was going to have its own beer festival. The excitement has grown in addition attendance in breweries. The first festival had 19 breweries.
“I think especially when people got used to the idea of craft beer in Paducah with those two breweries opening, they kind of embraced it with open arms,” Walker said. “We had good attendance in the first year, I think better than we expected and it grew even bigger last year.”
Walker believes this year will even top last’s. People have embraced Paducah and are excited about what craft beer is doing to the community.
“I feel like everyone really takes ownership of Paducah. So much has happened here since I was growing up here and it’s really kind of amazing how much has changed in such a positive way. That’s why I think everyone embraced this festival so much because there’s just a ton of culture here all of a sudden. In food, in beverages, in the arts. Which we’ve always had a pretty solid arts scene, but that’s grown even more over the last 10, 15 years.”
The food, beverage, and arts have resulted in Paducah becoming a destination town and why a festival like PaBREWcah is so popular.
“I mean I’ve seen ticket orders come in from, you know, all kinds of other areas within an hour or so radius. So I think it fits just like the art scene here does. People travel in to see shows at the Carson Center, people travel in for symphony concerts, people come for Market House Theater performances, people come for our Quilt Museum, and the Yeiser Arts Center. So I think that this festival kinds of serves the same purpose. It attracts a regional crowd. Paducah is increasingly really cool and I think this just adds to that.“
You can purchase your tickets HERE. VIP tickets will sell out, so don’t miss out. Buy your tickets right now.
Need any more reasons to go? Watch this awesome video from Wagner Wine & Spirits.