Missouri Beer Festival Brings in Nearly 2,000 People

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COLUMBIA - The 4th annual Missouri Beer Festival brought in nearly 2,000 people to the Holiday Inn Expo Center Saturday. That's a big increase from the first year that brought in about 400 people.

"People are excited. They love beer," Organizer Tom Bradley said.

More than 20 different state breweries showed off their best crafts to guests who wandered around and sampled. Each person got a festival glass and walked around testing canned beer, bottled beer and beer from kegs. They could talk with the brewers and find out how it's made, what the different flavors are and what's up and coming.

Bradley said he wanted to get involved in something like this because of his love for brewers and craft beer. His brother-in-law got him into craft beer about 20 years ago and it became a real hobby for him.

"There's kind of a brother/sisterhood with the whole thing happening," Bradley said. "Here, we get to all share it."

Bradley said all breweries represented at the festival are Missouri breweries and there aren't any national beer companies. He said all of the beer is craft beer and not all of it is available everywhere.

Originally, Bradley said he was reaching out to brewers to try to get them to come to the festival, but with the popularity increasing, that has changed.

"Today it's kind of the point that they're getting in touch with me. They've heard about the Missouri Beer Festival. These brewers want a place where they can show off their craft," Bradley said.

(Editor's note: This story has been edited to correct the location of the Missouri Beer Festival from Hilton Inn to Holiday Inn.)