Monday, April 15, 2024

Williamsburg Craft Beer Fest Returns After Two Year Hiatus

The Williamsburg Craft Beer Festival is back after a two year hiatus. (Courtesy of Williamsburg Craft Beer Festival)

WILLIAMSBURG — One of Williamsburg’s biggest spring events is back after a two year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Williamsburg Craft Beer Festival (WCBF) is set for April 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. on the Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Hosted by ASPIRE Young Professionals and Rotary Club of Williamsburg, this will be the seventh festival. Despite its two year absence, it has become a landmark spring event for the City of Williamsburg.

Started in 2013 by the Young Emerging Professionals, the group that later merged with Aspire, and the Rotary with the joint mission to find ways to raise funds for local non-profit organizations, but on a larger scale. According to Festival Chairman Scott Kucinski, the craft beer industry in the Historic Triangle was nowhere near what it is today.

“I don’t think we had any breweries in Williamsburg at that time except for Alewerks and Virginia Beer Company was still in its planning stages,” Kucinski said.

The first festival was held in 2014 and featured twenty beers on tap. Around 750 people attended that first event; raising $11,000 for four local non-profit organizations.

In the years since, the WCBF grew by leaps and bounds.

“The location of it up until this year was always behind the library behind city square,” Kucinski remembered. “It had its capacity restrictions so we started with an event that was sized appropriately for that location. Quite frankly we didn’t know what the success of the fest was going to be.”

In the first few years, tickets regularly sold out in advance of the festival. Due to demand, the organizers expanded the festival grounds in 2018 to include the lawn outside of the Williamsburg Community Building in order to accommodate more beer lovers.

Kucinski said that moving the event to the Art Museums’ lawn this year will not only give even more space for the event, but it also alleviates logistical challenges, such as shutting down city streets, that have come up in the past.

All told, the WCBF has raised around $150,000 for local non-profit organizations with 100 percent of the proceeds going back to the community.

“This is all about being a 100 percent non-profit/charitable event,” Kucinski said. “Our focus first and foremost is to get some groups involved and make sure every dollar goes back to them.”

This year, the event is raising funds for the following:

Avalon Center, which helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

Here for the Girls; a group that works to improve the lives of women affected by breast cancer.

Bacon Street Youth and Family Services, which provides prevention, education and counseling for local youth and their families.

Literacy for Life, which provides literacy services to members of the Williamsburg community in order to help them function more effectively.

More than 25 breweries, food trucks, and live music will be on hand for the event.

General admission tickets for the festival are still available for $45 and can be purchased by clicking here. Tickets for non-beer drinkers are $15. All attendees must be at least 21-years-old.

Tickets that are purchased on the day of the event will be $60.

For more information on the festival, please visit the WCBF website.

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