Battle of the Brews brings room for small businesses
JEFFERSON CITY - Friendly competition was brewing on Friday, as some Missouri beermakers battled to take home first place in the Battle of the Brews.
But it was also a chance to try and bring some more attention to mid-Missouri's microbrewery scene.
Prison Brews, located two blocks from the old Missouri State Penitentiary, is the only microbrewery in Jefferson City.
Brian Schaefer, part of Circle Street Brewery, a homebrewery in Jefferson City, says there just isn't a strong homebrew scene in the area.
"I think there's definitely an opportunity in Jefferson city for brew pubs," Schaefer said. "If you look in Columbia it's just flooded with breweries and right here we just have Prison Brew."
Rod Dothage, the owner of Prison Brews, said he can see more breweries opening in the capital as well, and making beer shouldn't be seen as a competition.
For some homebrewers, events like Battle of the Brews could also turn out to be a good opportunity for business.
"I think it's gets our names out from the homebrewers here. There's big brewers here also and they can see what small homebrewers have to offer," Schaefer said.
Schaefer said one of the biggest issues for more brewpubs is the cost of running a brewery, and the Battle of the Brews is a way from smaller microbreweries and homebreweries to advertise.
"Basically all you're paying for is your beer. They're estimating 600 people to be out here. That's 600 people plus the breweries that will be able to see your name and try your beers. It's a cheaper way to advertise your name," Schaefer said.
At the end of the event one local brewery will be named the People's Choice, and one will be named the Brew Master.
"They did it last year and I don't think I was ready last year with my beer. There's not a whole lot of opportunities like this in central Missouri to do these things for home brewers," Schaefer said.
Ten microbreweries participated in the event, including two from Colorado.
All the money raised from beer sales will go to the Samaritan Center, Special Olympics Missouri, and the McClung Park inclusive swing project. The Leadership Jefferson City Class said the event fundraising goal is $15,000.