U.P. Brew Trail

Did you know the U.P. has nearly 30 craft breweries and wineries dedicated to making authentic, great tasting beverages for thirsty residents and visitors?  Across the country, demand for craft beers and wines is growing, and U.P. entrepreneurs are riding the wave.  Just take a walk through your local grocery store, and you’ll see dozens of U.P. brewed beers and wines stocking the shelves. Or stop by a local taproom to meet the brew master and sample the latest IPA while listening to live music.

And while ready-access to homegrown alcoholic beverages is something to celebrate, another praise-worthy phenomenon is taking shape:  brew-tourism.  Throughout the U.S., economic development groups are partnering with local breweries to market the local brew economy to drive tourism.  One popular option is to establish “brew trails” to help promote these assets to potential visitors and residents alike.  Perhaps the most popular and successful “trail” is Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail which annually attracts nearly a half million visitors.

With funding through RPI, WUPPDR staff are exploring the feasibility of establishing a U.P. brew trail to connect and promote the region’s numerous small and mid-size breweries.  Staff kicked off the project at Algomah Acres Meadery of Ontonagon County this past April to get input from brewing professionals and economic development agencies and assemble a steering committee to guide efforts.  After receiving preliminary positive feedback on the concept, the team is now connecting with breweries in the region and key economic development partners to explore the opportunities and challenges of developing and sustaining the initiative.  A final report is expected later this year.

For more information on the project contact Brad Barnett, Regional Planner, at bbarnett@wuppdr.org or 906-482-7205.