Volunteer Buddy Marino, of Grayson, pours a glass of beer during the Grayson Blues & Brews 4th Annual Craft Beer Festival on Saturday. (Photo: John Spruill)
GRAYSON — More than 1,500 people showed up to Saturday’s fourth annual Grayson Blues and Brews Craft Beer Festival.
The festival showcased 110 different craft beers for sampling and was unlike any other beer festival around.
“There are no long lines here,” said Gail Lane, event organizer. “We wanted festival visitors to be able to get the beers they want as quick as possible.”
With names like Red I Jed Eye, Hop Dang Diggity, Lazy Magnolia and Cooter Brown, visitors to the festival had chances to sample anything and everything they could think of.
“It’s great to be able to come here and sample all the beers for one price,” said Scott Groome. “I normally go for an ale, but there are a lot of good beers here.”
Among the brewing companies at the event were Red Hare Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing, Goose Island, Jekyll Brewing, Terrapin Brewing Company, Monday Night Brewing and Cherry Street Brewing Co-op.
For Jessica Lopez, a marketing representative for Red Hare, festivals like the one in Grayson is one of the most important things for them.
“When it comes to marketing and sponsorship, these festivals do a lot for our business,” she said. “It’s the easiest way for us to get our beer into the hands of the consumer.”
With four different beers at the festival, Lopez said the main thing she wants consumers to know is how much her company prides itself in its craft beers.
“We were the first Georgia brewery to can our beers,” Lopez said. “That’s huge because it’s better for the beer.”
For Loganville resident Scott Stepowany, the festival was a good chance to enjoy the weather and great beer.
“It brings people out and gives them a chance to see what our local breweries are doing,” he said. “It’s also bringing in money for the community, which is a good thing.”
Lane said she understands there are people who overindulge in the beers by consuming more than they should, but there were parameters in place to combat that.
“We have a designated driver alternative that pays to get people home who can’t drive there because of how much they drank,” she said. “Different companies sponsored that, so the event-goers won’t have to pay a dime to get home safely.
“In year’s past, we’ve had cars left in the parking lot, and that’s a good thing. Safety is the top priority for an event like this.”
Stepowany also noted that it’s an adult event, which adds to the appeal for some people.
“I have kids of my own, so most of the gatherings I have are with kids,” he said. “So, it’s nice to be able to have some adult time.”