Zionsville Times Sentinel

March 26, 2014

Will beer, wine at state fair be win-win-win?

By Andrea McCann
Times Sentinel Managing Editor

---- — During the most recent legislative session, lawmakers removed a 67-year ban on alcohol sales at the Indiana State Fair, and Gov. Mike Pence signed the bill into law; it will take effect July 1. I have mixed feelings about that; so I started digging into how it will work and asking other people how they feel about it. Turns out, some of my Facebook friends have the same questions and concerns. The move was cited as a way to provide opportunities for Indiana-based breweries and wineries to showcase their products. I think it's great that someone's lobbying for those businesses — the Hoosier state has many wineries and breweries that make excellent products, and that number continues to grow. According to a news release from the office of Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis), who co-authored the bill, Indiana has 82 breweries and more than 80 wineries. Both the wine and craft beer industries have organizations that promote them: the Indiana Wine Grape Council and the Brewers Guild of Indiana. Each has a slew of adult events and promotions. So, is selling beer and wine at the state fair — a traditionally family-oriented event — the best way to market their products? Indiana State Fair Public and Media Relations Director Andy Klotz said, "We can't ignore the beer and wine industry at the fair anymore. They deserve to tell their story like all other ag producers." See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.