Vermont’s governor and several economic development leaders said Wednesday that craft beer has been a bright spot in the state’s $2.6-billion tourism sector, encouraging spending in restaurants, shops, and hotels.
“I would say probably 60 percent of our business is beer tourists,” said Jenn Cook, the head brewer of Kingdom Brewing in Newport. “We solely couldn’t survive on our local clientele—we really depend on tourists.”
Cook and other brewers now have a new way to reach those travelers.
The Vermont Brewers Association just released a free mobile app that helps craft beer fans plan their trips, discover festivals, learn about different offerings, and earn rewards for visits.
The small state has developed a big reputation over the past decade or more, for both the number of breweries here—roughly 60 now—and the quality of their products.
“On a national level, people ask that question, ‘Is the bubble going to burst?’” said Melissa Corbin, the executive director of the Vermont Brewers Association. “And we don’t believe there is a bubble. There’s still room for growth here in the state.”
The new app was possible thanks to a $46,000 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership that aims to encourage job creation in Northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.
Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, is the new co-chair of the NBRC.
“We must acknowledge that the program is at some risk in the federal budget, but fortunately, we have a Congressional delegation that sees the wisdom in using federal resources in addressing regional challenges,” Gov. Scott said Wednesday.
Scott indicated he’s excited for future beer traffic the app could generate, saying rural areas of the Northeast are thirsty for any economic boost they can get.