Kentucky breweries get their own beer festival this year with Kentucky Craft Bash. | Photo by Elizabeth T.

This summer, Kentucky breweries get their own beer festival.

Kentucky Craft Bash was announced today by the Kentucky Guild of Brewers and is scheduled for Saturday, June 24, at Louisville’s Waterfront Park Festival Plaza, according to a media release.

The announcement indicates the plaza “will transform into one of the nation’s largest taprooms,” with more than 30 Kentucky breweries scheduled to participate. Brewers will bring their “best and most innovative” beers for tasting at Craft Bash. No out-of-state breweries were invited to attend.

“Kentucky’s craft beer scene has been exploding over the past few years,” said Derek Selznick, executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Brewers, via the announcement. “While all our members have seen the enthusiasm for micro- and craft brews grow, the Kentucky Craft Bash will give us our first chance to directly connect beer enthusiasts with brewers from across Kentucky.”

Lexington’s Rock House Brewing is one of more than 30 Kentucky breweries that will participate in Kentucky Craft Bash in June. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

When Insider Louisville spoke with Selznick earlier this year, he noted that one of the guild’s primary goals was to improve the quality and perception of Kentucky craft beer.

“Across the board,” he said at the time, “we are committed to making sure the beer we are putting out there is of the finest quality.”

A festival like Kentucky Craft Bash would place that emphasis on quality squarely in the limelight.

Vince Cain, co-founder of Great Flood Brewing Co., which will be part of the festival, said in January that many people in Kentucky are still learning about craft beer.

“Something that is often overlooked in a developing market like ours in Kentucky,” Cain said, “is that many customers are still developing their taste for craft beer styles, and they may just be looking for the right opportunity and experience to learn what they like.”

A Kentucky-focused beer festival might be just the place.

He added, “There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as helping someone discover something they didn’t expect to enjoy.”

Selznick believes the growth in Kentucky brewing is already happening and will continue. A report by the guild projects that Kentucky breweries will produce at least 40,000 more barrels of beer in 2017 than in 2016. The rise in the market for craft beer resulted in a 25 percent increase in brewery industry workforce and an estimated $495 million economic impact in the state in 2016.

The Kentucky Craft Bash hopes to bring more than 2,500 brew fans from across Kentucky and the surrounding region to Louisville to give them a taste of the state’s brewing industry — so they might better learn what they like about Kentucky’s beers.

“This will be one of the state’s largest beer festivals,” Selznick said, “and we’re proud that we’ll only be featuring beers brewed right here in the commonwealth.”

The event also serves as a fundraiser for Cure CF, a volunteer organization working to help cure cystic fibrosis and is a collaboration with Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Lex, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Louisville Water Company, and others. Live music will be part of the festival, although other details weren’t presented.

“We couldn’t be more excited about gathering some of Kentucky’s most talented brewers in one event,” said Adam Watson, board president of the guild and co-founder of Louisville’s Against the Grain Brewery, in the announcement.

“Whether you’ve been a craft beer enthusiast for years or are just starting to learn about the commonwealth’s diverse brew scene, this event is going to give thousands of people a chance to taste some of the best beer in Kentucky and celebrate not only our state’s unique brew scene but this emerging powerhouse in Kentucky’s economy. Plus, it’s going to be a heck of a party.”

Tickets for the event start at $50 for general admission; VIP tickets are $75 and include early admission, special promotional items and a chance to talk with the brewers.

Kevin Gibson covers everything from food to music to beer to bourbon. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono (pissed her off a little, too). Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he co-hosts a local radio show and plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies. Check out his blog, 502Brews.com, or feel free to call him names on Twitter: @kgramone.


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