GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Beer City, USA is developing a reputation for other alcoholic beverages.
Michigan’s second biggest city came in 10th on a list topped by Seattle.
“This interest in craft goods extends to travelers, as visitors increasingly look to have experiences that are both authentic and local,” said Travelocity, in a statement announcing the list. “The first ever Craft Spirits Tourism Index looks at factors including the number of craft distilleries by population, the number of awards received by local craft spirits, accessibility by air, hotel costs and more.”
The Top 10 U.S. Craft Spirts Tourism Destinations:
4. Washington, DC
5. San Diego
8. Minneapolis/St. Paul
9. St. Louis
10. Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids is home to several award-winning distilleries and tasting rooms including Bier Distillery, Grand Traverse Distillery, Gray Skies Distillery, Long Road Distillers and New Holland Brewing’s Knickerbocker Brewpub & Distillery.
The city has also recently established a chapter of the U.S. Bartenders Guild, which is working to revitalize the craft spirits and cocktail movement.
Experience Grand Rapids, the local convention and visitors’ bureau for Kent County, has worked to draw attention to the region’s growing craft spirits and cocktail industries and is planning its annual GR Cocktail Week in Nov. 8-19.
“In 1880 there were over 5000 distilleries in the United States, most of which were small local producers of spirits. But by 1980, market consolidation and prohibition shrunk that number to fewer than 100 large national distilleries,” said Eric Zandona, director of spirits information for the American Distilling Institute.
He says the American craft spirits industry was reborn in 1982 and over the next three decades grew to over 1000 small distilleries spread across the country. Today, the industry is thriving and the number of craft distilleries is on pace to double in the next 3 to 5 years.
“We are thrilled to be working with Travelocity to introduce more people to the craftsmanship of these local distillers,” Zandona said.
Finding and booking a trip to one of the craft distilling hotspots named in the Travelocity Craft Spirits Tourism Index is made easy by visiting travelocity.us/craftspirits where travelers can find offers for hotels and flight packages.
The travel website has also curated a number of bookable spirits tourism activities, including tours and tastings at travelocity.us/SpiritsActivities to help people explore the world of craft spirits.
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