Brew up some fun this coming Saturday at the 2019 DeLand Beer Festival in Downtown DeLand, the 10th annual celebration of all things on tap. The festival will help wrap up the 10-day-long celebration of Volusia Beer Week.
The DeLand Beer Festival will feature about a dozen brewers from Volusia County — including Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co. in DeLand and Central 28 Beer Co. in DeBary — as well as elsewhere in Florida and nationally and internationally. Also available will be mead, wine, cider and spirits from local and national purveyors, and food, other craft beverages, and products from an assortment of vendors.
The event runs 1-5 p.m. on East Indiana Avenue and part of adjacent Alabama Avenue, rain or shine, with more than 100 suppliers of beer, wine, cider, mead and spirits — many of them locally owned businesses — serving up over 400 different options. Other vendors will be selling food and crafts, and a band called Ancient Sun will perform.
The DeLand Beer Festival was started in 2010 by two local beer enthusiasts. From about 450 attendees that first year, the event has grown to draw more than 10 times that number in 2018, said Ann-Marie Willacker, president of sponsoring organization Support Volusia Inc.
“We’ll probably draw about the same number, since we’re not changing much,” she said.
Willacker and her husband, Blair Willacker, are the couple behind Odd Elixir Meadery, a DeLand-based maker of craft mead wines and Volusia County’s first and only meadery. Mead, made from honey, is the oldest fermented beverage in history.
That first beer festival nine years ago has spawned a series of events that take place over 10 days. Volusia Beer Week was a “natural progression,” Ann-Marie Willacker said.
“The Volusia beer scene was kind of late to the game, but Volusia County has done an amazing job of embracing the craft-beer industry,” she said. “There are about 12 craft beer brewers now, when seven years ago we had none.”
Volusia Beer Week started in 2013 and has hosted events from Ormond Beach to Sanford. Events include pint nights, special bottle releases, rare and limited draft releases, art and music events, beer dinners and brunches, beer tastings, meet-the-brewer events, educational sessions, a home-brew competition and the signature event, the DeLand Beer Festival.
The festival is an age-21-and-up event, and all attendees must have a photo ID, organizers say. Tickets are available online at www.VolusiaBeerWeek.com. Tickets provide access to unlimited samples, live music, presentations by craft-beer experts, and demonstrations by local artisans.
If you cannot make it this Saturday, there’s always next year.
“We don’t plan on going anywhere,” Willacker said. “As long as there are craft beers and craft-beer drinkers, we’ll be here.”