Beer Town: Could Atlanta someday replace Asheville as Beer City, USA? – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)

A fresh canned offering at Asheville’s Burial Beer Forestry Camp Brewhouse in Biltmore Village. PHOTO CREDIT: Bob Townsend.

Last month, I traveled north to the Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference in Asheville, N.C.

The attendees from all across the U.S. and a few other countries represented breweries, brewer associations and destination marketing organizations, along with tour operators, bloggers, beer writers and even an academic or two.

The workshops and discussions ran the gamut from tap room management for breweries and best practices for brew pubs to a panel called “The Beer Marketer’s Guide to Working with Media.” And because it was a beer conference, there was lots of beer tasting, almost all the time.

For me, one of the most enlightening presentations asked the question “What Is Beer Tourism?” Dr. Carol Kline, an associate professor of hospitality and tourism at Appalachian State University, and Chris Cavanaugh from Magellan Strategy Group had some answers from the recent research they’d been gathering.

Among the emerging national trends they discovered: destination marketing organizations are developing more travel experiences around food and beverage; all eyes are on the millennials; the sharing economy and the on-demand economy are leaping forward; visitors seek out “community” and “social worlds.”

Not surprisingly, all those things are vividly in view in Asheville, a bona fide beer destination that boasts more breweries per capita than almost any other U.S. city and proudly calls itself Beer City, USA.

For our group of beer writers, which included authors Josh Bernstein and Stephen Beaumont and Draft magazine’s Zach Fowle, the Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau set up an itinerary that not only included visits to breweries and brew pubs but other businesses that were spawned by the city’s beer boom.

Among the destinations, White Labs’ new factory is producing high-quality specialty brewers

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