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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Come for the beer, stay for the cause at Davis Beer and Cider Festival


12th annual Davis Beer and Cider Festival this Saturday benefits Citizens Who Care

Sudwerk Brewing Company and UC Davis Extension Master Brewers Program are coming together once again to host the 12th annual Davis Beer and Cider Festival on June 4. The event benefits Citizens Who Care (CWC), a Yolo County non-profit that provides services to the elderly and their caregivers.

The festival will be held under the shady overpass of Sudwerk Brewing Company located on 2001 2nd St., from 2 to 5 p.m. Sudwerk Brewery has consecutively offered their space as the location for the beer festival for the past 12 years, and is proud to continue the support of the successful fundraiser for CWC each year.

“For the longest time, [Davis Beer and Cider Festival] was the first beer fest in Davis. Since then, there has been a lot of expansion. We started Davis Beer Week a few years ago, and we put on the big beer fest in downtown in August,” said Caleb Weeks, Sudwerk Brewing Company business manager. “[Sudwerk] always likes to make an effort to give back to the community by hosting fundraising events.”

The Davis Beer and Cider Festival is one of the biggest and most successful fundraisers for CWC, usually raising around $25,000. The eclectic variation of beers and ciders are donated by breweries in Yolo County and other regions of California. The event is entirely organized and executed by volunteers, with all of the proceeds donated to CWC.

“Sudwerk partnered with us from the beginning and they’re a tremendous help in making this event possible for us,” said Joanne Bell, executive director of CWC. “Twelve years ago we started out with maybe 25 breweries, and now it has grown to over 45 breweries participating. [The breweries] usually bring about two products for people to taste, so there are a lot of options.”

CWC needs to raise up to $150,000 annually to fund the professional staff who train the volunteers and provide special paid programs for the elderly and their caregivers. Special programs include the bi-monthly Saturday Club, during which volunteers spend time with the elderly, giving caregivers a break.

“We are serving about 170 people right now in Yolo County, mainly in Davis and Woodland, and we really stretch our money and resources in every way we can to make that possible,” Bell said. “With the money raised from this fundraising event, we are able to train staff and provide services like respite care giving, friendly visits to the elderly and also manage the senior-peer counseling program for the county.”

On average, 800 people attend the Davis Beer and Cider Fest, and according to Bell, they are expecting approximately 1,000 attendees this Saturday.

Students from the UC Davis Extension Master Brewers Program are a vital part of the fundraising event as well. Each year the students from the program generate half of the volunteers who help set up, prepare food and pour beer.

Professor Emeritus Michael Lewis first joined UC Davis as a food science professor in 1964. At that time, he also established UC Davis’ very first brewing class and developed the brewing science curriculum. Lewis has now developed the Extension Master Brewers Program to help students learn about the science and business-side of beer.

“The people from the class are certainly experts in the field of beer and brewing. If a customer asks a question about the alcohol and the color and flavor, or whatever he is curious about, they will be able to answer that question. The Beer Fest is not a part of their education, it is a fun event we engage the students in,” Lewis said.  

Attendees at the festival can sample from over 100 different beers and ciders and vote for their favorite in various categories. The tickets, which also include a mouthwatering brats sandwich and chips, are $35 for pre-sale and $40 at the door. There will be tours of the brewery led by Sudwerks’ knowledgeable guides and live music playing all afternoon by the two bands MAU and Tha’ Dirt Feelin’. There is also a silent auction during the festival and tickets are sold separately at $1 each. Some prizes include a spa package, a weekend stay at the Davis Hallmark Inn and gift baskets from local businesses in Davis.


Written By: SHIREEN AFKARI – city@theaggie.org


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