SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The excitement was overflowing for the first Craft: a Farm to Bottle Summit in West Virginia.

Bill Woodrum, the Director of Entrepreneurship for the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI), was still receiving calls from individuals wanting to register on the way to the craft beverage summit.

The first event of its kind in the state’s history, according to Woodrum, took place on Monday afternoon at the Holiday Inn & Suites in South Charleston and was hosted by RCBI.

“We are trying to connect farmers to people who are making craft beverages whether that is beer, wine, spirits, teas,” Woodrum said. “We are trying to connect the people who have the resources and are growing plants in West Virginia that can be used to help make drinks in West Virginia.”

Around 100 attendees from several distilleries, breweries and farms across the state took part in the summit.

Different speakers took to the stage to discuss local sourcing, legal and regulatory issues, and legislative updates.

The keynote speaker for the event was Todd Boera, the owner of Fonta Flora Brewery in Morganton, NC. Boera brews beer and grows his own ingredients for that beer in a farm. He talked about the possibilities for that locally in W.Va.

“We want to encourage this new economy,” Woodrum said. “What we are hoping to do is capitalize on that side of the business but connect that agricultural side. We hope to grow the grains, grow the various fruits that the bottlers need so we are connecting those and keeping the money in West Virginia.”

The event wrapped up with a network reception featuring local craft beverages and local foods.

To learn more about craft beer in West Virginia, click here.