Greencastle-Based Oktoberfest Proves The Power Of Craft Beer

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By Donovan Wheeler for Indiana On Tap
Of the many mistakes Anheuser-Busch made when they aired that colossally stupid anti-craft beer ad last February, perhaps InBev’s greatest error was predicating it on the assumption that the only people interested in malty porters or hoppy pales are heavily bearded twenty-somethings—eclectic hipsters who spend their days sitting in front of their laptops thinking of ways to both save starving Sudanese children and cripple the New York Stock Exchange.  Judging from the continued expansion of craft beer’s popularity—out of that singular niche and into the mainstream public—InBev has ended up with the worst possible fallout.  Not anger, nor a massive rallying of all former Bud Light drinkers.  Instead, the world said, “Meh…”

Case in point: Greencastle’s St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church.  Last fall, the small parish located just north of DePauw University held its first Oktoberfest in what was at that time the mostly sparse quarter-acre parking lot behind the church.  While the small festival was largely a success, the crowd’s reaction to the beer options proved an unexpected twist.  ”At last year’s Oktoberfest, there was a big demand for more craft beer on tap,” says event organizer and president, Matthew Welker. “Last year, we mostly had domestic beer in aluminum bottles, along with two sixth-barrels of craft beer [from the now defunct Cutters Brewing in Avon]. We went through the craft beer very quickly.”

Responding to what Welker describes as a loud and clear request for more craft beer, both he and his fellow organizers made a significant change: “This year we’re having Three Pints Brewing Co. bring their beer trailer, and we’ll have five of their craft beers on tap along with two more of their beers in cans.  We’ll still have a small domestic beer presence at our event, but we definitely wanted more craft beers on tap this year.”

“Additionally,” Welker adds, “we’ll have a beer garden with wine as well from Hopwood Cellars Winery in Zionsville.  We also have music, a good selection of food, bingo, pull tabs, games for the kids, a bounce house, and a ‘Desserts and More’ booth.  It’s a very fun atmosphere.  This year we have also added some raffle prize drawings featuring Notre Dame Football tickets, IU basketball tickets, Purdue football tickets, a flat screen TV, gift certificates, cash, and more.  Tickets for the raffle can be purchased one for $1 or six for $5.”

Established as a fundraiser sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, raising funds for local charities, Greencastle’s event serves as yet another time-stamp marking the rapid sea-change in beer consumption across the state.  Thanks in large part to the expansion in activities and entertainment, the night at St. Paul’s promises to be a fun time for locals and the many visitors Welker hopes will come.  But this very non-hipster, non-bearded, non-twenty-something parish’s decision to shift its emphasis from “domestic” beers to craft alternatives, stands as a harbinger of things for come for the mass-producing giants who clearly still don’t understand what’s happening to the ground under their feet.

For questions about Oktoberfest contact Matthew Welker (765)720-5497. ​


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