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Brewgaloo celebrates massive growth during fifth year

Posted April 22

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— The wet weather didn’t keep people inside Friday night as the 2016 Brewgaloo, one of the largest craft beer festivals in the state, began in downtown Raleigh.

Brewgaloo celebrates its fifth anniversary this weekend. In the beginning, the beer festival only filled Raleigh’s City Plaza but now it stretches down Fayetteville Street to the Capitol Building.

“We had this little dream of having this beer festival,” said executive director of Shop Local Raleigh, Jennifer Martin.

That little dream has grown into something much bigger over the past five years, attracting breweries from across the state. Robin Stevens made the trip from the North Carolina Mountains.

“In Asheville, we hear about Brewgaloo as being one of the main beer events in the whole country,” he said.

Uli Bennewitz, owner of Weeping Radish Farm Brewery, traveled from the coast. His brewpub, which opened 30 years ago, is the oldest in North Carolina. At the festival, he is legendary for helping to re-write state law to make it legal for brewpubs to operate.

“I didn’t realize it was illegal to operate in brewpub in North Carolina,” Bennewitz said. “I passed my own little bill to allow brewpubs to come.”

Five years ago, Brewgaloo had just 13 brewers. This year, there are 90 beer and cider makers at the event.

This weekend, Brewgaloo will go through 700 barrels of beer, amounting a drink tab around $100,000.

Friday night’s event was just a small tasting and the big event will kick-off Saturday.

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