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Press release here:

After a successful debut last year, the State of Origin Beer Festival returns June 13 with an increased emphasis on North Carolina ingredients.

All participating craft breweries are required to be based in North Carolina and serve beers derived from ingredients sourced within the state’s borders. The festival takes place from 1:30-7:30 p.m. on the courthouse square in downtown Morganton.

“We look for the majority of ingredients to be from North Carolina and every year we will become more stringent on that,” says festival organizer David Bennett of Fonta Flora Brewery. “The great thing is the breweries are following suit and using this as a challenge to create beers they have not done before. Many of these beers are one-off creations that once they’re gone, they’re gone. It’s definitely limited and exclusive in nature.”

Locally-sourced ingredients will include staples like malts, hops and water, along with unique items like carrots, kiwis, wildflower honey and beets. Fonta Flora has even been known to brew batches from dates and dandelions.

“It’s all over the map,” Bennett says. “The breweries really put a lot of time, money and effort into brewing these special beers.”

The list of 25 participating breweries includes: Appalachian Mountain Brewery of Boone, Birdsong Brewery of Charlotte, Fullsteam Brewery of Durham, Highland Brewing Co. of Asheville, Triple C Brewing of Charlotte, Trophy Brewing of Raleigh and Asheville’s Wicked Weed Brewing.

Morganton breweries are Catawba Brewing Company and Fonta Flora, which recently won a gold medal for its Irish table stout at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado.

Live music will be provided by acclaimed bluegrass band Mipso, along with two additional musical acts.

“Because attendance last year was better than expected, we’re increasing the number of attendees, but only by a small amount to keep the festival boutique and small,” Bennett says. “It’s in a very quaint area and we want to keep it that way.”

Tickets for the State of Origin Beer Festival are $40 for general admission and $60 for VIP. Hours for VIP ticketholders are 1:30-7:30 p.m. and general admission hours are 3:00-7:30 p.m.

For details and tickets, call (828) 238-6229 or go to: www.fontaflora.com/festival.

A new option this year is a package ticket which includes roundtrip transportation from Charlotte and VIP admission for $125. Details at: http://honeybeesevents.com/wine-brew-tours/.

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