Delaware may be one of the smallest states in the lower 48 but that won’t stop it from trying to compete for the craft beverage industry tourist dollars. It may not be able to compete with the sheer numbers in any one craft beverage category but, when you combine all the craft beverage makers together you get more than 20 breweries, wineries, distilleries, cideries and meaderies that want you to come visit, discover, sample and buy their products.
The craft beverage industry is growing in Delaware, and the Delaware Tourism Office has announced additions to its Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail. The Delaware Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail provides fans an easy way to explore the craft beverage makers across the state using its interactive website, a downloadable printable map and a soon to be released Smartphone app that will be available later this summer.
Combine and Conquer
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Most craft beverage trails are exclusive to one type of beverage. For example, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail only includes distilleries; you won’t find a brewery or winery on that trail. If you look close at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and its Craft Tour members, you will however see there’s a lot more there than bourbon on the trail. Many of the craft spirits members also offer gin, vodka, moonshine, absinthe or brandy. The Delaware trail has come up with its own variation that invites distilleries, cideries, meaderies, wineries and breweries to come together to all be members.
The trail started in 2010 under the name Delaware Wine & Ale Trail with the goal of increasing out-of-state visitation and featuring a developing segment of the state’s economy. When it started it included 12 locations, all of them wineries and breweries. The increase in sites since then tracks with nationwide beverage trends. For example, in 1985 the U.S. had 110 breweries. Today, that number is well over 4,000.
“Every day we work to share with the country and the world that Delaware is a vibrant, viable and exciting place to visit, to live or to do business,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “I’m pleased to celebrate the expansion of the Delaware Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail and the entrepreneurs who are building Delaware’s craft beverage industry into a growing economic engine for our state.”
“It is a privilege to showcase the growth of this industry in the state. The trail helps drive visitation to and build awareness of each of its locations,” said Linda Parkowski, Delaware Director of Tourism. “These business owners take on a lot of risk. They have the courage to turn their dreams into realities, their passions into profits.”
Craft Beverage Small Business Loans
“Helping small businesses to get off the ground or grow is an essential part of the mission at the Delaware Economic Development Office,” said DEDO Director Bernice Whaley. “And we have been able to support this industry through loan assistance for four of the trail locations, all of which are thriving.”
The Delaware Craft Spirits Distilleries
Distilleries on the Delaware Trail include,
- Beach Time Distilling
- Delaware Distilling Company
- Dogfish Head Distilling Co.
- Painted Stave Distilling
Painted Stave Distilling in Smyrna, DE used Delaware’s Capital Access Program back in 2012. It now calls the Old Smyrna Theater home and is helping to revitalize the city’s downtown.
“We are so appreciative of the backing we’ve received from the state in all its forms,” said Mike Rasmussen, co-owner of Painted Stave. “And the Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail is a big part of that. Every weekend we see people come into our distillery because of the trail. And we are not alone in knowing the trail is driving customers to our business. That’s why we are so glad to see even more companies will now be benefiting from it.”
Complete Your Passport and Get a Free Stein
Delaware Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail travelers will be able to keep a record of their progress through an updated passport available at the state run website. Once a person has been to any 10 of the locations, Visit Delaware will send them a free glass beer stein featuring the Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail logo. Since 2010 there have been more than 6,000 downloads of the trail passport.
The state of Delaware offers five Trails of Discovery – History, Outdoor, Geocaching, Culinary and Craft beverages. Each trail gives tourists a unique and thematic way to see the state.