Written by Michelle Corless, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
AMANA (KWWL) -
Live entertainment, pretzel necklaces, and most importantly beer were all on hand at the 8th Annual Festival of Iowa Beers Sunday. The event was hosted by Millstream Brewing Company in Amana.
"We're putting out some great beer any why not showcase it," said Teresa Albert, owner of Millstream Brewing Company. "That's all that's here is beer made in Iowa."
Vendors from across the state brought nearly 100 different kinds of beer to the festival.
"We like to try the different beers, enjoy the company and have fun," said Lisa Workman of Cedar Rapids.
The festival is an annual part of Labor Day Weekend for many. Some even travel from out of state to attend.
"I got a lot of family and friends here in this state and it's just part of this whole weekend," said Charlie Staats of New Braunfels, Texas. "I just love coming up here and this is kind of the icing on the cake before I head back."
For vendors, the festival was a chance to gain exposure. And for one group, it was even an opportunity to share with local beer lovers that they can make their own brew.
"We've got a lot of beer enthusiasts that show up so we've gained a lot of members from people who have just come along here, decided to try our beer, said 'Wow, this is pretty good. You can brew this yourself'" said James Potts of the Cedar Rapids Beer Nuts. "We get to say 'Yes, you can!'"
When the festival first started, there were about 350 attendees. But for the past few years, the event has sold out at 1,200 tickets.
It's one sign of the growth of the craft beer industry in Iowa.
"You look at the craft beer industry, in the last three years we're gone from like 15 breweries to 25 breweries," said Albert.
The breweries don't consider each other competition. They believe that the more there are, the better it is for the industry.
There will be a home brew festival in Cedar Rapids on October 13th, hosted by the Cedar Rapids Beer Nuts.
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