NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild has concluded its first statewide set of the “Farm to Tap” festivals and will continue to plan events that bring growers, brewers and consumers together over the coming year.
“Our brewers nailed it! They turned Tennessee crops into great beer. These events put a spotlight on Tennessee herbs, fruits, and other home-grown ingredients,” said Sharon Cheek, Executive Director of the Guild.
“’Farm to Tap’ celebrates what is uniquely Tennessee and I’m really proud of our brewers, vendors, and volunteers who made these events a success,” Cheek said.
The festivals kicked off in Knoxville, followed by Nashville, and ended in Memphis to highlight Tennessee agriculture and its partners. These three events gave participants the chance to sample a variety of Tennessee-brewed beer and interact with brewers and Pick Tennessee Products partners to learn more about where their products are sourced from and how they are made.
The “Farm to Tap” initiative was conceived to bring Tennessee brewers and farmers together to encourage the further use of homegrown farm products in local craft beers. It officially started in November 2021 with various kick off events throughout the state.
The Guild contracted with Rhizome Productions to carry out the vision and logistics of these state-wide tasting experiences. Both Tailgate Brewery in Nashville, and Wiseacre Brewing in Memphis generously provided space for the events. Suttree Landing Park and the Tennessee River served as Knoxville’s backdrop.
The program’s state funding was continued for a second year in the state legislative session that ended last week.
More than 1,500 people attended the three festivals. Additionally, more than 30 Tennessee breweries showcased their craft brews utilizing Tennessee grown crops and several local vendors also attended and offered their products for sale.
“’Farm to Tap’ exceeded our expectations and reinforced the strong appeal of Tennessee products in the rapidly growing craft beer industry in Tennessee,” said Tennessee Department of Agriculture Business Consultant Kyle Hensley.
“One element of year two will be a more focused education component for the potential farm partners,” Hensley said.
The mission of “Farm to Tap” is to provide a common ground for Tennessee farmers and brewers to foster new relationships and collaborate on new projects with the help of the Guild. The brewers quoted below share their experience with the festivals and their plans for continued partnerships.
“Working directly with farmers is a unique experience as a brewer to get to see their product from the ground up. We are so happy that the Tennessee Craft Brewers Guild has made this relationship a priority and we look forward to continuing our partnership,” said Ryan Allen, Owner and Master Brewer of Soul & Spirits Brewery.
“It was great to see the ‘Farm to Tap’ festivals come to fruition after having worked so long with Sharon and Kyle, among others, to get this program off the ground. I’m happy to see how supportive the beer community has been for the ‘Farm to Tap’ launch and the excitement of our guests and customers who all got to be a part of it. I’m excited to see ‘Farm to Tap’ continue and can’t wait to participate in all future events,” said Chad Mueller, Head Brewer of Tennfold Brewing.