exeter lions club

28th annual brewfest media kit



Something’s Brewing in Exeter

and The Lions Share What It Is

By Crystal Morales

It’s that time of year again in the Central Valley. The weather is warming, the sun is shining, the blossoms are blooming. That’s right. It’s almost time for the 2024 Exeter Brewfest, hosted by the Exeter Lions Club. Neal Hickey, Exeter Lions member and the 2024 King of the Brewfest, foresees this year’s festivities to be filled with not only joy and excellent local craft beers, but also a connection to community. For 27 years Exeter has hosted the community event, one of the first brew fests in the Central Valley. The tradition precedes the craft brew boom, which has been bubbling away for the past decade, giving rise to a community of beer brewers and lovers. 


The local beer brewing community is a supportive one, says Brent Bell owner of Bellcraft Brew Co. He began brewing beer over 25 years ago and has turned his love for craft brewing into a neighborhood brewery. If he had to describe the Bell brewing style in one word, it would be “Traditional.” In fact, traditional describes more than just the beers. Even the building Bellcraft is housed in is steeped in history. Housed in Exeter’s downtown, the establishment started as an auto shop and was a storage facility for the Sun-Gazette Newspaper before it became the beloved downtown hotspot. On any given day, Bell says you can find him and his wife at the Brewery, working on new craft options or enjoying the company of the people who visit them. “We’re always here,” Bell said.


Feeling like a part of the neighborhood is what drew Neal Hickey in, as community has played an important role not only in his life, but in the very motto of the Exeter Lions club. “We Serve” is just one of their mottos, the other being “Yay God, Boo Devil”. Hickey says he left the Central Valley for a time, but felt the pull to come back home after a while, a feeling many who have left the Valley know all too well. Finding such a vibrant and exceptional brewing community within Exeter was a perk of returning home. After becoming involved with the Lions Club, Hickey decided to use the skills and “polish” he learned in the corporate world to build up the community event and, by proxy, build up the community

“There’s something magical about brewing,” Hickey says, and it’s true. The magical thing about the Exeter Brewfest which sets it apart from any other Brewfest is the community. While waiting in line to try something new, it’s not odd to strike up conversations with people you’ve never met before; to put down the phone and just enjoy the company of those around you. Ultimately, finding that the strangers you meet are not so strange at all, but neighbors. 


The 28th Exeter Brewfest will be held May 4th from 2 to 6 pm at the Exeter Memorial Building. The festival will feature 50 craft breweries, two local homebrewing clubs (TCHOPS and Worthogs), a plethora of sausages from Exeter Meats, live music and food trucks. Tickets are $50, however designated drivers may enter free. Proceeds from the event will be donated back to the community through the Exeter firework show, local youth scholarships, vision needs, baseball events, and much more. Ticket information can be found through the organization’s instagram, @exeterlionsbrewfest. 


Royalty Chat with Rich Rodriguez


Bellcraft Brew Co., is located in the heart of Downtown Exeter. They believe in brewing outstanding beers and providing a place for the community to gather. Their beers range from traditional IPAs and Ales to Seltzers and Hard Sodas. There’s something for everyone!

Bigfoot and The Moon, a  band from Visalia, CA. that makes aggressive sounding folky punk-jazz type music – some of it sounds old and some of it sounds new.  You’re gonna have to listen and see if you like it. You can find and follow them on Spotify. 


Official Band of the Brewfest