For the first time in its history, the North Carolina State Fair, which runs Oct. 12 through 22, will begin selling beer and wine on the state fairgrounds.
Forty breweries and 40 wineries will showcase their products in the brand new Our State Public House venue at the state fairgrounds sponsored by Our State magazine.
Brian Long, spokesperson for the N.C. State Fair, said the fair would be the perfect venue to highlight the state's craft beer and wine industries. He said people will have the opportunity to purchase a flight of North Carolina-based beer or wine to sample.
“Really, it is designed to showcase two major and growing sectors of North Carolina agriculture," he said. "The craft beer industry has an economic impact estimated at $1.2 billion, and the latest figures on the wine and grape industry in the state estimates their economic impact at $1.9 billion.”
Margo Knight Metzger, marketing director of Our State magazine, said each event ticket will cost $10 per person and can be used for either beer or wine.
“There will be different flight options," she said. "For example, with the beer you can buy a flight of light beer, dark beer, hoppy beer or a sampler that may include a bit of each.”
She said the beer and wine options will change halfway through the fair.
“Half the fair we have a certain group of breweries, and then the second half of the fair we have a different group of breweries so that we have the opportunity to showcase as many NC breweries and wineries as possible," Metzger said.
The project to sell beer and wine at the state fair has been a long time in the making, said Whit Winslow, a representative of the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council. For the past four years, the fair has housed a wine and beer tasting area in the James B. Hunt Horse Complex outside the fair gates.
Winslow said many of the wineries and breweries that previously participated said that they would like to be inside the fairgrounds.
“At least on the brewery side, they jumped on it fast," Metzger said. "People see it as an exciting opportunity to be showcased at one of North Carolina's iconic statewide events.”
Security and trained bartenders will be on site at the Public House to make sure ticket holders act responsibly.
“Being the first year, we are learning the ropes, but we are estimating 30,000 people will come through this space — the Our State Public House," Winslow said. "And we hope that those 30,000 people are going to get to taste some delicious wines and beers."
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