Why a Craft Beer Festival?
As the school year ends and vacations begin to ramp up, the Chamber is entering one of its busiest times of the year. This time of year starts our planning for the annual Morristown Craft Beer Festival presented by Carlyle Properties. Many of you know that this event is family and pet friendly including food trucks, face painting, bounce houses and wonderful music, but do you know, in the words of Paul Harvey, the rest of the story?
There was much thought and foresight at the Chamber prior to the creation of a festival and those thoughts and efforts revolved around 2 issues our community faced: housing and quality of life.
#1 Historically, our community only saw the issuing of 50 new housing permits per year on average. Much of this was due to our regional labor draw, but I’m of the opinion that if Morristown provides the opportunity to work through our investment in land and industry, we should also have an opportunity to give you an option to relocate here so we don’t lose your property taxes when you leave our county every afternoon. In 2021, we saw an increase from 50 to right at 1,000 new permits for housing pulled. I hope our efforts had a small part in that growth.
#2 was quality of life. We too often saw young families living too near larger cities in the region then leaving jobs in Morristown when openings occurred in those larger cities. Our community was one of the last holdouts of many of the times gone by and thankfully through enough support in the community, we were pushed to recruit a brewery. As we talked to breweries around the country, we got the same results we get with many of the retailers Facebook pundits have sworn were coming here, “your community just isn’t big enough and can’t support us.” Locally, we always seem to take that personally as we should, so we began planning a beer festival to show a demand for this product in our community.
What resulted was during the planning process, 1907 Brewing Co. purchased their building and were able to be highlighted at our first festival and have been strong partners and participants since. Attendance was 5X our projections as well and we have seen growth and expect even greater growth this year. This year will see a 5K run added as well as more vendor booth space as well as additional activities for children. Fortunately, many of our long time sponsors have stayed the course but we do still have sponsorships as well as VIP tents.