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State College Brew Expo Is Tasting Success While Focusing Exclusively on Pennsylvania Beers

by on August 13, 2019 5:00 AM

August is a month of mixed emotions for many. It’s still summer, but, by the time the month ends, a new school year will have begun.

During these few weeks in August, Happy Valley has a handful of annual events that can help put an exclamation point on summer. One of those is the annual State College Brew Expo, held each year at Tussey Mountain.

This year’s expo, the 21st edition, is 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, August 17. Similar to last year, the expo will feature only Pennsylvania breweries. The change to a PA-only event was made to reflect the interest of many of giving more support to local products.

“I was really happy to see the response to the PA-only change,” says Michael Martin, who runs the expo with his wife, Malissa. “We had 70 breweries, which was our largest ever. … Last year was a better attended festival by both attendees and breweries. The PA-only route seemed to be a big hit.”

Martin says the Pennsylvania beer market changes “literally every day. I believe there are over 50 new breweries set to open this year in PA. They are popping up everywhere!”

He says he hopes to have 50 to 70 brewers again this year. Some of the ones that will be at the expo include well-known brands such as Troegs and Yards, some local breweries including Robin Hood, and other state breweries including C and C Brewing Factory from Shrewsbury, Marzoni’s Brewing Company from Altoona, and ZeroDay Brewing from Harrisburg.

This year’s musical lineup features The Supervillains from St. Cloud, Florida, and Pennsylvania-based Lynn and Farley 5. The Supervillains are described as “swamp reggae rockers who have been bending genres, partying hard, touring the world, and leaving tales of joy and destruction in their wake.”

Giving people an opportunity to try some great beers is only part of the expo’s mission. Since the Martins took over the event in 2010, the State College Brew Expo has been used to raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer. Last year, money from the expo led to an $8,000 donation to CVC, and the event has helped raise about $75,000 for CVC.

As the organizer of a beer festival, Martin also continues to notice trends that are happening in the industry. When it comes to styles, New England IPAs remain a popular item.

“Hazy IPAs and sours are huge!” he says. “The big bourbon barrel-aged stouts were huge, but seem to have lost steam.”

He also notices what’s happening in how beer is distributed and sold.

“Self-distribution is making a huge impact with can releases rather than using the traditional three-tier system,” he says. “Breweries are making crazy money now this way. A four-pack is $20, and you don’t have to pay distributor margins. It’s a great positive, but I’m not sure how great it is for the consumer and, of course, distributors.”

What is great for consumers are beer events such as the State College Brew Expo. It offers a chance for beer lovers to try new beers and sample products from brewers they may not have ever had a chance to try before, all in one location. The summer calendar is filled with beer festivals and events. In fact, according to beerfests.com, across Pennsylvania there will be 14 beer events happening in August and September.

Because of the State College Brew Expo’s mission “to promote great beers, educate drinkers, and help our community,” plus the scenic location of Tussey Mountain, Martin believes the event stands out from a crowded field.

“Some festivals are just out there to make money for themselves or a charity,” Martin says. “We try our best to go above and beyond for the attendees and breweries to keep them coming back each year. Ours is unique because of the location, music, and layout.”

For more information about the State College Brew Expo, visit StateCollegeBrewExpo.com.


David Pencek is a freelance writer in State College.


 



David Pencek is a freelance writer in State College.
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