MURPHYSBORO — Each year, people who make their own home brews can enter them into competition at the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest's home brew contest.

For a while, the winning brew, with the owner's permission, is brewed at a local brewery and sold to area customers, according to Brad Fager, one of the organizers of the Brew Fest.

“It’s an opportunity for home-brewers to have their brew commercially brewed,” said Gabrielle Smith, the coordinator of the competition. “If they wanted to take that and have it brewed commercially, they would be able to do so. We don’t retain any legal ownership.”

If the winner agrees to it, his or her winning brew is brewed and sold for an evening at local bar, Smith said. If the winner decides to not do that, that option could be shared with the next-place winner, she said.

There were 77 entries into this year’s competition and the winner is a local person, Smith said. The winners, including Best of Show, will be announced at the festival, at 2 p.m. in the band shell at Riverside Park in Murphysboro.

This past July, the Brews Brothers Taproom held a release party for Bryan Canavan's 2015 winning brew, "Dieu de Don," which had been prepared by St. Nicholas Brewing Co. in Du Quoin.

Though past winners like Canavan have only had bragging rights over their triumph, that could change next year, Fager said.

Next year, organizers are looking at offering a cash prize to the winner, he said.

"(We're doing that) just to increase the interest and try to build on it and make it a bigger contest," he said.

This year's Brew Fest is 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Riverside Park in Murphysboro. General admission is $35 for an advance ticket, or $40 at the gate.

Fager also noted that those who are nondrinkers or designated drivers can buy a $5 bracelet for admission. On average, there are between 50 to 100 designated driver tickets sold, he said. 

Designated drivers, who will be identified by a bracelet they wear, can get water and soda at the Designated Driver Tent, he said.


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Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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