Grand Rapids, Michigan continues to draw attention for its craft cocktail and spirits industry, being ranked this week by the popular online site Travelocity, along with the American Distilling Institute, as one of the Top 10 Craft Spirits Tourism Destinations in America.
“This interest in craft goods extends to travelers, as visitors increasingly look to have experiences that are both authentic and local,” according to a news release from Travelocity. “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 ranking identifies these 10 “Large Metro Areas” (>1 million):
1) Seattle, WA
2) Portland, OR
3) Denver, CO
4) Washington, DC
5) San Diego, CA
6) Philadelphia, PA
7) Austin, TX
8) Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
9) St. Louis, MO
10) Grand Rapids, MI
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, November 8-19, 2017. The Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, which will celebrate its tenth annual event, November 16-18, 2017, expanded its focus on craft cocktails and spirits to its event which draws more than 18,000 over a three-day period.
“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. “In 1982 the American craft spirits industry was reborn 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.
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 www.travelocity.us/craftspirits where travelers can find great offers for hotels, flight/hotel packages and more. Additionally, Travelocity has curated a number of bookable spirits tourism activities, including tours and tastings at www.travelocity.us/SpiritsActivities to help people explore the world of craft spirits.
The Michigan Craft Distillers Association was formed in 2014 as a non-profit organization charged with marketing the individual member businesses, their products and events, but also help bring a voice for the industry when it comes to legislative issues that affect the overall beverage industry. Currently, the organization represents two dozen craft distilleries with nearly 40 individual locations and tasting rooms around the state.