It is no secret that bourbon dominates this state, but the craft beer industry is growing in Kentucky. I want to shed light on this amazing industry and what it means for Kentucky.
Hardin County voted to allow the sale of alcohol with the ability to take it home in 2011.
This changed everything. It opened up a lot of opportunities for local businesses and the ability for a craft beer community to develop in Elizabethtown. It did.
In 2015, Elizabethtown hosted its first craft beer festival, the Kentucky Craft Beer Festival.
“We were just interested in kind of bringing opportunities to the marketplace that introduced locals to the great craft breweries that are out there around the state and beyond,” said Kenny Rambo, co-founder of the Kentucky Craft Beer Festival. “So we launched the festival kind of in that regard.”
The closest brewery during the first year of the festival was in Louisville, about 45 miles away. That quickly changed. Elizabethtown opened its own brewery, FlyWheel Brewing, in November of 2017. Although FlyWheel was part of the festival last year, this will be the first time the Kentucky Beer Festival will feature beer from its own city.
Having their own brewery means a lot to the people of Elizabethtown.
“It’s just really cool to be able to say,”Yeah we have this now in Elizabethtown,” Rambo said. “It just kind of creates a source of pride in the community and an opportunity for people to come here. Either from here or visiting and take part in something that they can’t experience anywhere else in the world because there is only one FlyWheel Brewing.”
FlyWheel has is more than just a brewery to the people of Elizabethtown. It’s part of their personality.
“The taproom is kind of a gathering place,” Rambo said. “It just becomes one of those destinations where people want to be able to spend time catching up with friends and family, visiting one another.”
This feeling will be evident tomorrow at the Kentucky Craft Beer Festival, where over 23 breweries from across the state pouring beer at the Brown-Pusey House Garden in Elizabethtown.
The Kentucky Craft Beer Festival is doing things a little different than most festivals. People will be drinking beer, but they will be drinking beer for a great cause.
“We have a non-profit organization called Give 270 that is based here in Elizabethtown,” Rambo said. “And our goal is to basically to meet the unmet philanthropic needs in three-county area; Hardin, LaRue and Meade County which kind of make up our local metropolitan municipal area. So basically our presenting and our featured breweries have made a contribution to that non-profit or a sponsorship to the non-profit to be part of the festival.”
The goal of Give 270 is to engage 270 people in giving $270 and distribute the funds to projects identified in partnership with United Way of Central Kentucky. The Kentucky Craft Beer Festival serves as an additional fundraiser to benefit Give 270.
But the fundraising doesn’t stop there.
“We have a 3-year relationship with one of our presenting sponsors, which is Liquor Barn,” Rambo said. “The way they support our event is they have allocated us a bottle of Van Winkle 12-Year Special Reserve. And one of our partner non-profits will actually be selling raffle tickets for $10 a piece and those funds will benefit an area non-profit called CASA of the Heartland.“
Rarely do you see a festival, of any kind, give back in the way the Kentucky Craft Beer Festival. That is just one of the many reasons why the Kentucky craft beer community is so popular and successful.
And are there two better things than drinking beer and giving back? The answer is no. So if you live in Elizabethtown or closy by, you better be there on Saturday.
The only way to enter the raffle is by attending the festival, so buy your tickets HERE!
Go drink good beer and support two good causes!