Catering to craft beer tourism


People increasingly travel for the craft beer movement around the United States, which has led to a spike in beer tourism. To enhance the guest experience, hoteliers have responded by partnering with local breweries to provide a variety of beer-focused experiences, from in-house tastings to brewery tours.

At Burlington’s Hotel Vermont, a beer concierge helps guests gain access to Vermont’s world-class beer scene. The best beer in Vermont is brewed in small batches with very limited distribution, making it difficult to find, so for visitors a beer concierge comes in handy. The hotel offers a two- night experience, “Hops and Malts: Hotel Vermont’s Craft Brew Tour”, which includes a concierge-guided tour of local breweries, transportation and lunch. In New Hampshire, the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel has a beer master on staff. “The main draw of a hotel having a beer master is to promote the growth of an exciting industry. New England, for example, is becoming a hotbed of activity for craft beer. New Hampshire has nearly 40 breweries, Maine has 60 breweries and Massachusetts and Vermont are heavily growing,” says the Sheraton’s beer master, former beer blogger and enthusiast Brian Aldrych. His mission is twofold – he supplies guests with information on the beer scene in the immediate drive-able area and curates the hotel’s selection of local beers.

Beer tourism is also on the rise in San Diego. At The US Grant Hotel, sommelier, mixologist and cicerone Jeff Josenhans officially started brewing the Grant Grill’s signature Imperial Manhattan Rye Red, in collaboration with the local Mission Brewery. This imperial red ale is infused with cigar- smoked Luxardo cherries and then aged in Grant Grill’s US Centennial Manhattan seasoned barrels for four to five months. The San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter pays a nod to the booming local craft beer scene (San Diego County now has over 50 breweries) by offering a “Brew Diego” package that takes guests to beer hotspots in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

The craft beer movement continues to grow in Chicago. In response, the JW Marriott Chicago and Lagunitas Brewing Company have created a “Lagunitas Beercation” package, featuring a selection of Lagunitas craft brews and complimentary transportation via Uber to and from the 300,000-square foot brewery for a tour and tasting. In Florida, a new “Craft Beer Trail” is soon to be unveiled at the elegant LEED-certified Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach. This private car service to 14 local breweries will include a map with suggestions for exploring the trail at leisure. Beer headlines in spa treatments, too. In addition to its “Tap the Local Brewery” package, Kimpton’s Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria, Virginia offers a Gentlemen’s Beer Beard Facial at the on-site spa, using a Monumental IPA to kick up the shine.