ABINGDON, VA - News 5 brought you a story a few weeks back on a $14.3 billion industry that's building in our area, according to the Brewers Association.
There was proof of that Saturday at the first ever Hops and Howlers Brew Fest in Abingdon.
A day filled with music, food and of course craft beer but an even better way for people to get out and taste local products.
Abingdon Special Events Coordinator Sara Cardinale organized Saturday's event and says good community events are good tourist events.
"Our goal is to bring people to Abingdon. Our goal is never to throw an event so that we make money or anything like that. Our goal is to always bring more visitors to town," says Cardinale.
And they definitely brought in a lot of visitors. Cardinale says they pre-sold over 350 tickets.
Once visitors checked in at the ticket booth they received a three ounce glass to use as their taste taster throughout the day.
Amber Clark and her husband volunteered at one of the craft beer tents. Their job was to pour samples from the distributor into the three ounce glasses. Clark says its great to have an event like this in Abingdon.
"I mean just to have this many people excited about an event and to showcase some of the local brewers that we have in this area is very important," adds Clark.
The local brewers make events like this happen and says it gives them a chance to showcase what they do.
Foothills Brewing Rep Dave Goliszek says craft brewers across the region are like family.
"It's just nice to meet and interact and see what everybody else is doing within the craft brewing community. It's a very faternal feel. We all like to help and support each other and learn from each other, so it's really nice to taste other people's beers and see what other people are doing," adds Goliszek.
And for organizers like Sara she says they're ready to do it again.
"It looks like we've pulled it off. And so I think we'll be able to do it again next year. Probably even more successfully and working out the kinks. It's always like that with an event. I do hope we can have it for years to come," adds Cardinale.
To check out Wolf Hills Brewery in Abingdon, go to www.wolfhillsbrewing.com.
To check out Holston River Brewing Company in Bristol, Tennessee, go to www.holstonriverbrewing.com.