Sustainable Farmers Tap Into Craft Beer Market

By Jessica Maurer, posted Aug 30, 2017
The Farm-Infused Brewer's Fair will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. (Logo courtesy of Tonic Branding)

Local sustainable farmers, craft brewers and area suppliers are coming together Wednesday in downtown Wilmington at the first-ever Farm-Infused Brewers Fair at Ironclad Brewery.

North and South Carolina farmers will be on hand along with wet/dry hop farmers to help brewers source large quantities of local, quality ingredients. Ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, herbs and honey can be used to create flavorful infused brews.

Christy Joyce, member of the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild and one of the event’s organizers, explained that because hops are often sourced from the same regions, craft beers can tend to develop very similar flavor profiles. Brewers are seeking to combat this by infusing beer with fresh produce to create unique flavor combinations.

Because large quantities of produce are needed for the infusions, the craft beer industry is one of the fastest-growing markets for farmers, according to Joyce. The Farm-Infused Brewers Fair is the first of its kind to help local, sustainable farmers capitalize on this growing trend, build new partnerships, and generate additional revenue. Brewers will be able to buy directly and place preorders for next year.

“In some ways the brewers are influencing what the farmers decide to plan for the next season,” Joyce said. “By setting up this type of event where brewers can present their needs to farmers, the farmers can better plan for the upcoming season.”

Joyce said that in many cases, just one order from a brewery could surpass what a farmer might sell in an entire day at a farmers market.

Ironclad Brewery owner Ted Coughlin said he was contacted about hosting the fair, which has been promoted throughout the state, because of Ironclad’s large event space.

“I think the idea of connecting regional farmer and regional brewers and creating these kind of partnerships could be great for the local economy,” said Coughlin.

The Farm-Infused Brewer’s Fair will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Ironclad Brewery, 115 N. 2nd St. Admission to the event for brewers, home brewers and the general public is $25. Find out more on the event's Facebook page

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