Monday, August 25, 2008

Beer Tourism in Virginia

I've written on the prospects for beer-related tourism a number of times recently. I once mused "I look forward to the day I'm following hop-emblazoned signs through the Virginia countryside." According to an article at, that dream is getting closer to reality.
Now, the region’s breweries and brewpubs are organizing a beer trail that would aim to attract beer-loving tourists from elsewhere in Virginia and surrounding states. The trail would emulate the state’s eight regional wine trails that promote Virginia’s numerous vineyards and wineries. “Our industry is like the wine industry was 20 years ago,” said Mark Thompson, master brewer of Starr Hill, which produces the popular Jomo Lager, the Dark Starr Stout, the Love unfiltered wheat beer and other brews. “Wineries have come together and gotten lots of love. We can do that too ... A rising tide lifts all boats.”

The Charlottesville-area beer trail is believed to be the first trail in Virginia that would focus primarily on locally brewed beer.

“We don’t know yet exactly what the trail is going to look like, but that’s OK,” said Maureen Corum, director of economic development and tourism for Nelson County. “People come here for the experience. They come for the recreation. They come for the scenery. These breweries fit right in with all that.”

Corum is leading the effort to set up the beer trail, which she expects to be more fully developed in the fall. Nelson County has already obtained the trademark for “Red, White and Brew” for use in future marketing campaigns. The list of breweries that would be included on the trail has yet to be decided, Corum said, though Starr Hill, Blue Mountain and the Devil’s Backbone are natural fits because of their relatively close proximity to one another. Others, such as South Street Brewery and several breweries in the Shenandoah Valley, have also been mentioned as potential spots along the trail.

While this effort is currently focused on Charlottesville and surrounding areas, I see no reason why it eventually won't extend further afield. There are breweries and brewpubs in the works for Winchester, Fredericksburg, Floyd, and Northern VA among others.

See the entire article at "Brewed egos".


  1. Fantastico! Where do I sign up?

  2. An interesting article - thanks for the post. C'ville has grown into a really beer-friendly little town in the last while and it's a pleasure to be surrounded by it.

    Having a nice selection of brewpubs and local offerings within 20 minutes in such a small city is a treat - I feel all disappointed when I leave now and have trouble finding a good store or pub.


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