Monday, July 28, 2014

Agritourism and Beer

Breweries per capita

Virginia is getting pretty craft beer crazy. When I got here, most people didn't know what an IPA was and now I could almost drink local beer exclusively. It's an exciting time to be in the beer business.

Lately, there have been a lot of articles like this good one saying what so many brewers are saying, a plateau and a die-off are coming. It's a bit premature to get too worried about, I think, but I thought I'd put my two cents in about how a brewery in a place like Virginia could weather the storm so many prophets are presaging.


Agritourism has been the darling buzzword in this state for years, and I think beer and farmers need to get in bed a bit more. As airfare rates rise, they vacation closer to home. As more people move to cities, they want to visit rural areas to see the trees, the cows, the pastures, the horses, the eagles, the streams, the mountains, the sunrise over the Blue Ridge, etc.

We've already seen the start of this. More and more, I meet people from DC and Maryland and New York who are coming to float down rivers and hike. They want to pick apples and strawberries and hops. They want sit back and enjoy everything local about the Shenandoah Valley, and that includes the beer.

I've got a ton of ideas about how farmers and outdoor adventures companies and breweries can start working together to build stronger economies in our rural areas. I think it's the future. I want to get a brainstorming session going.

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