The idea for the Bright Leaf Brew Fest came about in 2008, on the front porch of a beach rental house on the third day of an unusual, spring tropical storm. The owner of the house came by to check on the tenants and the roof during the storm. As it turned out, the owner of the house was a beer judge and traveled around to different events judging beer. After a couple of hours of storm watching, lots of conversation, and well maybe a couple of beers, the idea for the “Tobacco Row” Beer Festival was hatched. Later the name was switched to the Bright Leaf Brew Fest.
The Bright Leaf Brew Fest was originally organized by the City of Danville’s Parks and Recreation Department, along with several local craft beer enthusiasts, and home brew fans, who were invited to join the planning committee. Our goal was to showcase Danville as a cool place for a well organized event, unlike any in our area. The Brew Fest serves to educate the local population on the craft beer experience. After a couple of years, in order for the event to continue to grow and prosper, the Danville Harvest Jubilee became the sponsor with support from Danville Parks and Rec. Today, planning and organizing are done by the Bright Leaf Brew Fest Committee, many of whom were members of the original planning committee. This Committee is made up of a group of dedicated volunteers who spend countless hours year round to make sure this event continues to be an award winning fall event.
Since its first year in 2008, the Bright Leaf Brew Fest has seen significant growth and experienced many changes. That first event was held in the Community Room of the Danville Community Market where just over 500 attendees sampled approximately 40 craft beers offered for tastings. The second year, it doubled in size and took over the entire Community Market with nearly 1000 attendees. By the fourth year, the event was a sellout with over 1,500 in attendance and over 100 craft beers from which to sample. That same year, VIP tickets were added, along with an outdoor tent that included food and exclusive beers, which provided a unique experience for our VIP guests. During our fifth year, in 2012, Danville’s Train Wreck Home Brew Club shared samples of their talents in the sold out VIP area. Many VIPs favored the distinctive tastes created by our local home brewers.
While the storm on the front porch eventually did end, the Bright Leaf Brew Fest is going into its 12th year- stronger and better than ever. Organizers are predicting a quick sell out this year, so get your tickets early!