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Katy Beer Festival Sets New Records for Philanthropy, Donates More than $700K

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Katy Beer Festival Sets New Records for Philanthropy, Donates More than $700K

Wild West Brew Fest is right around the corner, Apr 26 – 27, 2019.

Katy Mills Mall
5000 Katy Mills Cir
Katy, TX 77494

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How does every great beer story start?

“After a trip to Colorado…”

Just like that.

Wild West Brew Fest all started when Katy Rotary Club member David Loesch attended a beer festival in Breckenridge, CO. It was nearly a decade ago. While there have been a few beers between then and now, that festival has left a lasting legacy right here in Houston, Texas – out West in Katy, to be exact.

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About the Wild West Brew Fest Craft Beer Festival

After attending that festival, he came home to his fellow Rotarians full of enthusiasm for what would become one of the Greater Houston area’s best beer festivals. But Wild West Brew Fest didn’t start out seeking any kind of recognition.

They started out because a high school girl in Katy was faced with the untimely death of her father and the subsequent uncertainty. She needed some help, and the Katy Rotary club wanted to provide it.

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We’ll never be able to tell the story with as much passion and conviction as David did, but in short, the girl had next to nothing. She was walking to and from school, spending her evenings studying in the public library, and she’d retire to her home at night – an old Chevrolet Suburban. It was home, and she shared it with a couple of siblings and their mother. Her name is Abby.

Once the Katy Rotary club raised all the money from the first year of Wild West Brew Fest, and they asked Abby what she wanted, all she wanted was to be sponsored for a goat in the FFA. She got her goat. She’s now a senior studying at Texas A&M, and there are many other students with a story like hers.

We recently polled a few of Houston’s most passionate beer lovers about why there’s no such thing as an ex-craft beer drinker, and by and large, the responses had something to do with community.

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Speaking of community, that’s how we met Dave Loesch. It was through our friend James Simpson of What’s on Tap Radio, and we had the pleasure of diving a little deeper into the Wild West Brew Fest. Here’s what we came up with.

With beer festivals every other weekend, what makes the Wild West Brew Fest unique from the others?

Every beer festival is going to boast a great selection, and many give back to the community, but there’s no half steppin’ at Wild West Brew Fest.

Wild West Brew Fest is staffed 100% by volunteers. 100% of the money you spend at Wild West Brew Fest will go back to doing good in Katy, in Texas, and around the world.

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Breweries in Attendance at the Wild West Brew Fest

Houston Breweries
8th Wonder Brewery – Read more about 8th Wonder
Shiner – Read more about Shiner
11 Below Brewing – Read more about 11 Below
Back Pew Brewing – Read more about Back Pew
BAKFISH Brewing Company  – Read more about BAKFISH
Buffalo Bayou Brewing
Brigadoon Brewery and Beer School
Copperhead Brewery – Read more about Copperhead
Eureka Heights Brewing Co.
Fetching Lab Brewery
Galveston Island Brewing
Great Heights Brewing Company
Platypus Brewing
SpindleTap Brewery – Read more about SpindleTap
Saloon Door Brewing
Sigma Brewing Company

Other Texas Breweries
Independence Brewing Co. (Austin)
Oasis Brewing Co. (Austin)
Oskar Blues Brewery (Austin)
Real Ale Brewing Co. (Blanco/Austin)
Adelbert’s Brewery (Austin)
Alamo Brewing Co. (San Antonio)
Bishop Cider (Dallas) – they are also launching a new product called Uncommon Wine Project which is a red and white wine infused with hops.
Community Brewing Co. (Dallas)
Deep Ellum Brewing Co. (Dallas)
Franconia Brewing Co. (Dallas)

National Breweries
Absolution Brewing
Argus Cider
Ballast Point
Boston Beers: Sam Adams, Angry Orchard, Truly & Twisted Tea
Locust Cider

Many, many, many more to come.

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Have you ever turned down a brewery that registered? If so, why?

Well, we’ve never technically turned down a brewery, but we have turned down a cidery. There’s plenty of cider at the festival, so we didn’t turn them down for that.

We had them pouring one year at the festival, and we were told they were pour-ing! This festival isn’t about that, and we make that real clear up front, so we had to approach them about overpouring.

Let’s just say their response was less than gracious, and they weren’t invited back the following year.

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Just like craft beer, everything’s evolved in the last 7 years since y’all started. What was the first year like? How have you outgrown some of the things you once did?

The festival has changed a little bit, but the more notable change is definitely the consumer.

When we started off, beer drinkers in Houston weren’t nearly as discerning. Neither were all the brewers. We had a few people that wanted to cash in on the booming craft beer industry, and the results speak for themselves. While beer drinkers get more discerning and knowledgeable, the folks that are just in it for a paycheck get spotted.

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You’ve had the honor of a few publications naming this as one of the best beer fest. How do you explain all the success?

You know, I don’t care how much of a buzz word it is, or how full of shit you might think I am for saying this… Passion.

I have a day job. Everybody on the board for the festival has a job.

From surgeons to lawyers to construction workers and everything in between, every single one of us has a day job. We don’t get paid to do this.

We do it because we love it. We’re passionate about our community.

We’re passionate about beer. Every single person that helps put Wild West Brew Fest on does it because they love to give back.”

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How big is the festival this year?

460 VOLUNTEERS
70 ROTARIANS HELP WITH OUR CLUB
110 BREWERS
10 FOOD VENDORS FOR VIP
5 FOOD TRUCKS
22,000 POUNDS OF ICE
200 WOODEN PALLETS TO MOVE ITEMS AROUND
VIP (THE HOP HOUSE) IS 10400 SQUARE FEET CLIMATE CONTROLLED
7 BANDS

No matter how cliche it sounds, David, the Katy Rotary Club, and the rest of the volunteers do this because they love it. “We love to give. We love beer. And we love that we have the opportunity to give back using something we love.”

See you there. 👍

They run out of space for breweries each and every year, and ticket sales will be no different, so hop to it.

From General Admission all the way up to Gold VIP, you can save 5% with code “BEERCHRONICLE”

Beers to you, Houston!

P.S. Make sure you follow us on Instagram for a giveaway including tickets, free beer, glassware, shirts, and other beer swag.

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Beer Chronicle Team
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