The event will feature more than 20 breweries from Western North Carolina and around the Southeast. Tickets are $35, which buys unlimited samples — as many as you can muster — in the four-hour window.
Capped at 500 attendees, the festival is destined to sell out, with only 75 tickets left as of press time. It’s a right of passage for Waynesville, which has catapulted headlong into the WNC microbrewery scene with the opening of three breweries in less than two years.
This final test — staging its very own sold out craft beer festival — was the brainchild of Kevin Sandefur, owner of BearWaters Brewing.
In the taproom of BearWaters last week, the phone was ringing off the hook with curious beer lovers purchasing tickets and fellow breweries figuring out logistics. In the backroom, Sandefur strolled past rows of fresh kegs cooling in the refrigerator, awaiting their eventual demise at the hands of joyous craft beer aficionados who’ll be arriving this weekend from every direction.
“It’s a lot of fun to showcase products, spend time with other breweries, try an array of different flavors and meet all kinds of new people,” he said. “This festival will be a great way to interact with our client base, and create a new client base.”
Sandeford got a $3,000 grant from the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority to help promote the ferstival. He also got a helping hand from the Asheville Brewers Alliance, which sounded the call to microbreweries across the region to step up and participate in the festival. With Asheville an increasingly saturated territory in the microbrew scene, many were eager to expand their brand into new territories.
“A lot of them understand the growth moving forward will be outward, west and east, from Nantahala Brewing in Bryson City to Catawba Valley Brewing in Morganton,” Sandefur said.
While competitors in one sense, craft breweries have a unique camaraderie amongst themselves and their communities. And really, that’s what the festival is all about.
“We all really appreciate the local support,” Sandefur said. “We’ve come so far, and the communities here are a huge part of that.”
The festival will feature three bands: ‘Round The Fire, The Get Right Band and Smoke Rise. Brewers include BearWaters, Tipping Point, Nantahala, Frog Level, Heinzelmannchen, Catawba Valley, Highland Brewing Company, Hi-Wire, Altamont, Oskar Blues, Samuel Adams, Southern Appalachian, SweetWater, and Wicked Weed, among others.
Waynesville Craft Beer Festival is also sponsored by American Legion Waynesville Post 47, Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, The Smoky Mountain News, Three Sheets Design, and The Mountaineer. Proceeds go to Post 47 charities.
Tickets can be purchased online or at BearWaters Brewing in Waynesville. A special “designated driver” ticket is only available online for $15. The event is for ages 21 and older.
Want to go?
The inaugural Waynesville Craft Beer Festival will be Aug. 31 in Waynesville.