As we all know, there is a lot of buzz about craft brewing and it’s popularity among the masses. What might not be as obvious is that beer tourism is also riding the craft beer boom, as locals and travelers alike makes plans to visit their favorite craft breweries on a day trip or an entire vacation.
In recent months, Zephyr Adventures conducted three surveys and a workshop about beer tourism. Here are some of the important findings.
Survey of Beer Tour Operators
We conducted a survey of beer tour operators in February 2014 and again in October 2015, with 38 (2014) and 39 (2015) participants.
- Zephyr Adventures keeps a list of 122 beer tour operators, of which approximately 25% plan vacations and 75% are involved with local day tours.
- The typical beer tour operator has three years of experience, both owns and operates the company, and hires at least one employee. Half of beer tour operators work full time on their business and half work part time.
- The typical beer tour customer is male (58%), 31-40 years old, and traveling with friends or as a couple.
- Beer tour operators estimate that 50% of their customers are fans of craft beer but not experienced, 20% are experts, and 30% are novices.
- The average beer tour operator has seen growth of 116% in the past two years in terms of revenue and 108% in terms of number of customers.
Survey of Destination Marketing Organizations
We at Zephyr Adventures also conducted an October survey of Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), Convention & Visitor Bureaus (CVBs), and similar destination marketing agencies. 54 organizations in North America participated.
- 81% of the participating organizations are actively promoting their local breweries. (Only 76% are promoting their local museums and historic sites.)
- 70% of respondents consider beer tourism as important or very important to their region and 98% believe on-site sales are important or very important to their local breweries.
Survey of Brewers Guilds
There are brewery guilds representing local brewers in many nations, almost every state in the US, and in some cities. In December 2015 we at Zephyr Adventures conducted a survey of US brewery guilds. 24 guilds responded.
- 64% of respondents consider visitation to be very important to their member brewers. (100% consider visitation to be at least somewhat important.)
- 91% of respondents believe “people are coming to your region specifically to visit breweries”. 50% of respondents said this is happening in “significant numbers”.
Beer Tourism Workshop
On November 18th we conducted a Beer Tourism Workshop with 41 attendees and a great panel of five beer industry participants, headlined by Mariah Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Margo Knight Metzger of the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild.
The workshop was a fantastic three hours of discussion regarding promoting a local region for beer tourism, promoting individual breweries, working with beer tour operators, and managing a tap room effectively. Via a participant vote and in post-conference surveys, the biggest complaint was not having enough time to discuss this important topic.
Beer Tourism & Marketing Conference
Clearly, beer tourism is booming. To provide an industry gathering place and educational forum to learn about beer tourism, we at Zephyr Adventures are in the planning stages to create a new Beer Tourism & Marketing Conference to compliment our existing Wine Tourism Conference. Stay tuned!
Please contact us or leave a comment here if you have any thoughts to add on the burgeoning beer tourism industry.