Annual Beer Festival Raises Money for CureDuchenne

When Matthew Daniel was diagnosed with Duchenne disease, a type of muscular dystrophy, his parents, Martin and Melissa, were determined to do something to help the cause. After launching a successful beer festival in his native Memphis, Martin thought this type of fun, local event could be just the thing to raise funds and awareness for Duchenne research and treatment. In 2010, Martin and Melissa founded Knoxville Brewfest, a celebration of all things beer.

Matt McMillan was working in Knoxville’s craft beer market when he first connected with Brewfest, and six years ago, he took over as the event coordinator.

“Brewers are the rock stars” of Knoxville Brewfest, he affirms, but the purpose is much bigger. All net proceeds from the event go to support CureDuchenne, a national organization that not only funds research on Duchenne, but it also aids patients and families through education and community support.

“Martin and Melissa started Brewfest for a great cause,” Matt says, and the event leaders are committed to the conviction that started it all. “We continue to financially support CureDuchenne in their goals to care for and find a cure for such a devastating genetic disorder.”

Characterized by muscular weakness, Duchenne is the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy. The disease primarily affects boys and in some rare cases girls, who are usually diagnosed before their fifth birthdays. As the disease progresses, everyday tasks become increasingly difficult, confining many patients to a wheelchair by age 12. Nearly 15,000 people in the United States are currently living with Duchenne, and more than 300,000 are affected globally. CureDuchenne cares for those affected by Duchenne while also supporting innovative technology to treat and eventually cure the disease.

The festival has historically raised between $35,000 and $45,000 per year for CureDuchenne. Over the course of its eight-year history, Knoxville Brewfest has donated more than $200,000 from ticket sales and sponsorships, and they’re looking forward to topping their goals this year.

Rain or shine, the event attracts close to 2,500 attendees, vendors and volunteers to the World’s Fair Park and will highlight more than 80 breweries from around the country with the opportunity for patrons to sample nearly 300 styles of beer and cider. Several popular Knoxville breweries will be among the vendors, including Balter Beerworks, Crafty Bastard Brewery, The Pretentious Beer Glass Company, Chisolm Tavern Brewery and Printshop Beer Company. More information and tickets are available online at