In one year, Paducah has hosted the establishment of two new breweries. It’s as if Paducah is turning into PaBREWcah! At least according to Daniel Sene, Executive Director of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, it is. He believes that both local breweries, Paducah Beer Werks and Dry Ground have set the stage for a growing craft beer drinking environment. So much so that come June 18, the PSO plans to organize the city’s first beer festival—the PaBREWcah Beer Fest.
“We’ve been searching for a fundraiser to do with the symphony for a while. I know this is bourbon country, but the timing is right. We think this can be an actual tourism boost as well. This is something that benefits the PSO and the community. We figure our almost 20 years of experience organizing the beer garden at the BBQ on the River festival gives us a pretty good handle on things,” says Sene.
Dry Ground Manager Andy Wiggins says that Paducah is more ready for a brew fest than most can imagine. Before Dry Ground opened its doors a year ago, Wiggins says, “We were asking ourselves questions like, ‘Will anybody show up?’ or ‘Is craft beer suited for the local palate?’ In retrospect these were all silly questions.” Wiggins credits Roof Brothers, Wagners Wine and Spirits, and local beer sales folk for priming the community.
“Did you know that Lower Town Arts and Music Fest typically sell 37 1/2 BBL kegs of beer per event annually? That's 1,147 gallons of beer served right here in little old Paducah in just 2 days. We are more than ready for a beer festival,” says Wiggins.
PBW Owner Todd Blume says, “We are definitely ready for a festival. We are the center of the region; hopefully we can draw beer lovers from multiple states to attend.”
The PSO has asked both local brewers to help in hosting the event. “As a home brewery there is an intrinsic connection to the event. Honestly we won't be much more involved in the event itself than many other breweries being showcased. Those guys (PSO) are experts at event planning and we are pretty dang slick at navigating the beer world. So, we've had several meetings about how to get this thing right. They're extremely interested in honoring the art of craft brewing,” says Wiggins.
Roughly 15 different breweries are expected to attend the festival and each will have the opportunity to showcase a minimum of two taps. That’s at least 30 different brews for attendees to sample during the five hour tasting event.
“We don’t want to start off small and have it grow, we want to start off big and have it grow,” says Sene. Though Sene claims to be far from a beer aficionado he knows that a good brew and music go hand in hand, which means there are a number of live bands scheduled to perform—though the line-up is still undetermined. Information on participating breweries, sponsorships, volunteers, food, and music can be found at pabrewcah.com.