For the second year in a row, Ocean City, Berlin and Worcester County governments all have named October Shore Craft Beer month. It isn’t just exciting to those of us who love craft beer. What is important about the continuing civic support of local beer is that it is a signal that local leadership is behind the movement to demonstrate why the Shore is one of the top 10 beer destinations in the country and all that the title implies.
Worcester means business when it comes to craft beer
Breweries build communities and regions in several important ways. The obvious ones include the contribution to the tax base and the addition of solid, technical jobs. What might be less obvious is that beer promotes a very specific kind of culture, attracting people who seek out not only the best beer, but the best places to drink it. Neighborhoods with breweries attract more middle class homeowners and people who are more likely to participate in their communities.
While it is hard to put a specific dollar value on how craft beer helps build strong communities, there isn’t much guesswork when it comes to how craft beer drinkers spend their money. In 2013 when there were 2,000 fewer breweries in the country, craft beer drinkers spent about $12 more per check than non craft beer drinkers. And that isn’t just about the beer being more expensive. Better beer goes better with better food, and people who know the difference enjoy the taste experience rather than just the alcohol. In fact, several restaurants have done beer pairings with specially selected “OCtoberfest” beers designated by local brewers as exemplary. Craft beer is a regular part of a good meal.
People travel for good beer
Five years ago, people thought it was novel when there was a brewery in the region. Today, it pretty much is expected. One of the ways the Shore Craft Beer Fests have distinguished themselves is by limiting the participation to local breweries. People love the opportunity to get a sense of the beers in the region all in one place. The result is that when they are choosing a destination in the future, they know what kinds of breweries are in the area and what to expect. The commitment of the towns and the breweries to help promote the region as a destination is what makes the destination enticing in itself.
By designating October as Shore Craft Beer Month, the participating areas recognize the drawing power both of the breweries in the region and in the region itself as the summer season wanes. People come to close their summer houses, or plan their final beach getaway weekend to coincide with Shore Craft Beer month, and OCtoberfest events in Ocean City particularly, because the combination of world class beer and world class beauty is difficult to ignore.