Indiana wineries, breweries to be featured at State Fair

Indiana beers and wines will be served at the State Fair this year under legislation Gov. Mike Pence signed into law last week.

Indiana State Fair Public Relations Director Andy Klotz said there is no concrete plan yet for how the alcohol sales will work, but there will be a separate area where the alcohol must be consumed. He said that should eliminate the risk of underage consumption.

“What is for sure is that there will be one beer and wine exhibit area, and it will be a 21-and-over area, so you must have a valid ID to get in,” Klotz said. “The alcohol that is served there will stay in that area and not leave that area”.

He said the practice has been used at all of the other year-round events held at the fairgrounds, and they have encountered very few problems in the past.

Klotz said the main focus will be to promote Indiana beer and wine. But he said he is not sure yet if it will be exclusively Indiana alcohol sold due to legal issues.

“It is certainly the intent to allow local growers to tell their stories and have their products available for sampling,” Klotz said.

He said local brewers have been contacted and informed about the new law and opportunity, however the logistics haven’t been figured out yet between the State Fair and brewers.

Jeanette Merritt , marketing director of Indiana Wines & the Purdue Wine Grape Team, said her company is thrilled to have the opportunity to be represented at the State Fair.

“The State Fair is a celebration of Indiana’s agricultural industry. Having Indiana wine available at the Indiana State Fair solidifies our industry as part of Indiana agriculture,” Merritt said. “I am thrilled that we will be represented and able to educate people on the grapes planted and the wines made from those grapes”.

“This really is a growing part of Indiana’s Ag-economy over the last 10 to 20 years, and that’s what this fair is all about; celebrating Indiana’s agriculture,” Klotz said.

Klotz said that he hopes featuring brewers will help give the industry exposure and raise sales for both the brewers and the fair.

“We don’t hide the fact that this could provide us with another revenue stream. This is a very large fair and it continues to grow, and it doesn’t get put on for free,” he said. “So everything we make, all of our profits go back into the facilities and the event, so it’s necessary to continue to find revenue streams in order to maintain the fair at that prestige level that it really is right now.”

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