For the love of beer.
For the first time, Morristown’s residents got a taste of the area’s microbrews at its Craft Beer Festival at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion on Saturday. India Pale Ales, lagers, pilsners, blondes and stouts were featured from breweries from throughout East Tennessee, and hundreds of people arrived to enjoy what was offered.
“When we planned the event, we had to factor in what we were expecting,” said Chris Horn, community chairman for “Make Morristown Home.” “We were expecting at least 1,500 people coming in and out – and we were more than surprised at the turnout.
“We also had to factor in our vendors, the amount of beer we were purchasing and the size of the property.”
The festival also had games and a bounce house for kids, as well as a cornhole tournament. Several businesses and vendors were promoting their products and services at the festival. Sheryl Steele, owner of Steele Hypnosis in Morristown, was also surprised by the turnout at the event, which she said also gives those vendors and businesses a chance to promote themselves symbiotically with the craft beer vendors.
“I’m surprised that so many people came. Since this was the first one, I wasn’t sure how many people would come,” she said. “This is a family event, and I hope this happens every year.”
Nearly every craft beer booth experienced long lines of visitors looking to sample and purchase their liquid wares. Horn also said the success of the festival was the result of more than year of hard work and planning.
“We started talking about this event about a good year ago. We started exploring options about how to deliver a family-friendly festival – and we decided talking to someone with experience in event planning, especially festival planning,” Horn said. “We did speak with several experienced festival planners until we settled on Marty Pippin, and he (and his company) helped us put together our craft beer festival.”
One of the craft beer vendors participating at the festival was 1907 Brewery, the first of its kind in Morristown, which plans to officially open its doors on West Main Street in December.
“If you look at building, it’s going to be a four-story building – and we’re using all four floors,” said Haley Fugate, marketing director of 1907 Brewery. “There’s a brick that shows the building was built in 1907, and that’s how we got our name.”
Fugate continued to say the brewery participated at the festival in order to get its name out to the community about the brewery’s opening, interest will skyrocket and people will start visiting immediately when it does open its doors.
“(The idea for the brewery) came from our ownership group,” she said. “We want to draw people who love craft beer, and we want to educate those who don’t know about craft beer, so we decided to combine the two (factors).”
Skylar Gratz and Wyatt Short, both Morristown residents, said the festival was a perfect to draw the city’s millennial population.
“I think millennial, especially people like us, appreciate craft beer, and we want the knowledge (of the kinds of craft beer) served here,” Gratz said. “I think millennials are more willing to try new things and take more risks.”
“I think it’s about promoting small businesses. They’re making craft beer based on the changing tastes (of those who regularly drink it),” Short said.
Horn said the craft beer festival is emblematic of Morristown’s growth as a city, as well as the growth of the Lakeway Area.
“We’ve been so pleased. That was the motivation for the festival in the first place,” he said. “We’ve heard from local employers that their workers didn’t have a place like a craft beer tap room to go to after work.
“We didn’t want to get behind other areas who are growing like us – and are already having (events like these).”