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SugarBrew Summer Festival Brings Beer, Wine and Spirits Tasting and More to Sugar Mountain Aug. 2

by Madison Fisler Lewis

July 29, 2014. It’s that time of year again. Time to get ready for beer tastings, wine samples, live entertainment, spirits tastings, delicious food and much more. That’s right. It’s time for SugarBrew! The highly anticipated annual event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 2 at Sugar Mountain Resort.

The fun mountain festival will be brewing from noon until 6 p.m. on Aug. 2 and will feature samples of a vast array of craft, import and domestic beers, wines and spirits. Taste to your heart’s content while enjoying live music performances from local favorite bands. In addition to the beverages, the festival will also feature an array of delicious summertime eats including hot dogs, hamburgers, sodas and of course, ice cream. To round it all out, enjoy an exciting scenic ski lift ride to Sugar Mountain’s peak, 5,300 feet up in the relaxing and cool mountain air.

And with that cool air in mind, check out the sale at the Sugar Mountain Sports Shop, where guests can enjoy 10-70 percent off of all winter merchandise, and don’t forget to purchase your discounted 2014-15 winter season pass while you’re there.

“This is our third year doing this festival, and every year it grows as people have a great experience each year,” said Kim Jochl, Vice President of Sugar Mountain Resort and Director of Marketing and Merchandising.

“Last year was the first year we had distilleries, and that was a great time. Our festivals tend to grow year after year and this one is no exception.” 

The participating wineries, breweries and distilleries is as follows:


  • Rail House Brewery
  • Appalachian Mountain Brewery
  • Aviator Brewing Company
  • Oskar Blues Brewery
  • Dry County Brewing Company
  • Howard Brewing
  • Catawba Brewing Co.
  • Olde Hickory Brewing
  • Natty Greene’s Brewing Company
  • LoneRider Brewing Company
  • Carolina Brewery
  • Triangle Brewing Co.
  • Abita Beer
  • Spaten Miinchen
  • Shock Top
  • Widmer Brothers
  • Kona Brewing Co.
  • Johnny Appleseed
  • Bold Rock
  • Flat Top Brewing Company
  • Highland Brewing Company
  • Hoots
  • Blowing Rock Brewing Company


  • Fiddler’s Vineyard
  • Duplin Winery
  • McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks
  • Ca’Momi Nappa Valley
  • Lido Bay
  • John Paul


  • The Brothers Vilgalys Baltic-Style Spirits
  • Petzold Distilleries
  • Topo Organic Spirits
  • Muddy River Carolina Rum
  • Carolina Distillery
  • Cardinal Gin

One of the most highly anticipated parts of this annual event is the Best in Show Beer Competition held each year to determine the best of the best of all the beers brought to SugarBrew. From 1-4 p.m., local judges will judge beers in six different categories: appearance, smell, taste, aftertaste and drinkability. Categories for the competition include High Gravity, Ales, Lagers, Porters and Stouts, Pilsners and Wheats. Presiding over the contest this year will be Chief Judge Tom Jankovich, owner and chef of The Painted Fish Cafe. Winners of the competition will be announced at 4:30 p.m. The first place winner of the competition will win the distinct honor of being featured in Sugar Mountain Resort’s Last Run Lounge throughout the winter season.

The judges this year include:

  • Tom Jankovich
  • Ken Ketchie
  • Anthony Coffey
  • Tom Lanier
  • Frederick Coffey
  • Jennifer WEaver
  • Jonathan Humphries
  • Trevor Andrusco
  • Ross Monkton
  • Eric Ferguson
  • Aaron Mass

Aside from sampling the delicious beverages, live entertainment will be provided for guests to enjoy. John Carter, co-anchor of WBTV News This Morning and WBTV News at Noon will be emceeing SugarBrew this year. From 12-2 p.m., Soul Benefactor will perform for guests, breathing life into songs of Marvin Gaye, Al Greene, Bill Withers, Van Morrison, The Allman Brothers Band, The Rolling Stones and more. From 2-4 p.m., the Johnson Brothers will perform, playing tunes from the 70s through today focusing on the oldies and classic rock. Finally, from 4-6 p.m., The King Bees will perform for SugarBrewers with their classic blues sounds.

Tasting wristbands are $30 online and $35 the day of the event. All ages are welcome to attend the event, however, to enter the tasting area you must have a wristband and must be 21 years of age. Designated drivers can purchase a wristband for $10 and enter the tasting area. Tickets may be purchased at the event, or online here.

“There is no charge for general admission, you just pay for what you want to purchase,” Jochl said. “We have terrific food available for purchase, and lift ride tickets are available too. But just to come and listen to the music is free and so is parking.” 

This year, the resort has added hay couches so guests have a great place to sit and relax. 

“We are really upping the comfort level,” Jochl said. “We also have four new sets of corn hole that we are building, and that gives people something else to do here while they are enjoying themselves. We are incorporating more and more fun activities every year.”

The entire SugarBrew event is located at The Sugar Mountain Resort at 1009 Sugar Mountain Drive in Sugar Mountain. For more information about this event, visit the website here

Check out photos from last year’s event. 

Photos by Ken Ketchie

Photo by Ken Ketchie

Photo by Ken Ketchie

Photo by Ken Ketchie



Photo by Ken Ketchie