Travelers are saying “Cheers!” to more beer. From 2015 to 2016, the number of craft breweries in the U.S. grew by over 16%. This spring, Travel Weekly highlighted the trend and economic impact on tap-related travel. The popular travel site Travelocity had its first Beer Tourism Index, naming the top 20 Cities for Beer Tourism in 2016 in response to a survey in 2015. In that survey, the site interviewed more than 1,000 individuals, out of which three-quarters of said that they would like to go on a trip where they visited craft breweries and sampled local beer.
Experts point to the large potential audience — there are more beer drinkers than any other kind of drinker in the US — and the accessible location of most breweries, where most are within urban areas as opposed to more rural wine country, to the growing trend. According to a Gallup Poll in 2016, 43% of Americans who drink say that they drink beer more often than wine or hard alcohol. By gender, 54% of men who drink prefer beer compared to 23% of women who drink. Beer drinkers are likely to be wealthier, with nearly 80% of drinkers who make $75,000+ saying that they have occasion to imbibe. In the travel industry, this diversifies the target market, which usually focuses on women.
If you’re a travel destination with a brewery or multiple breweries, consider advertising them alongside hotel packages. Look at what small cities like Bend, OR, and Boulder, CO, do to attract travelers, as they are touted as the best “small metro areas” that offer beer-cations. No brewery? Talk to local businesses about carrying the best beers in the state and promoting them to niche markets.