5th annual celebration highlights craft brewing, destinations where it thrives
With 203 breweries from the mountains to the coast, Gov. Roy Cooper today proclaimed April as NC Beer Month. 2017 marks the fifth year of the celebration, sponsored by the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild and Visit North Carolina to tap into the rising interest in beer travel.
“Thanks to North Carolina’s thriving brewing industry, our state’s entrepreneurship and craftsmanship can continue to shine,” Cooper said at a news conference held at historic Rocky Mount Mills, a complex undergoing an adaptive reuse as a one-of-a kind space with offices, residences, a brewery incubator and a 7-acre island in the middle of the Tar River. “North Carolina’s breweries attract tourism and create economic development opportunities to communities of all sizes across the state.” (Read the full proclamation here)
The number of craft breweries in North Carolina has more than quadrupled since 2010. According to studies collected by the Craft Brewers Guild, the annual economic impact of the craft beer industry was $1.2 billion in 2015. It accounts for $300 million in annual wages and 10,000 jobs. Rocky Mount Mills is part of that economic impact, housing a brewery incubator, bottle shop and taproom.
“Rocky Mount Mills has been a destination for business, innovation and community for more than 200 years,” said Michael Goodmon, vice president of real estate at Capitol Broadcasting Co. “As we write a new chapter in the Mills’ history, we’re honored to toast North Carolina’s brewing industry and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes it great.”
Interest in craft beer clearly inspires travel, said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina, the state tourism office and a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Visitor surveys indicate that in 2015, 1.7 million travelers visited breweries during their overnight trips to North Carolina destinations.
“North Carolina’s standing as a craft beer mecca attracts travelers who are passionate about everything from pale ales to stouts,” Tuttell said. “Their experiences in tasting rooms, pubs and restaurants are an extension of the authenticity found in local culture and traditions in agriculture. Our craft breweries produce 800,000 barrels a year, and every bit of it comes with a distinct sense of place.”
The connection between beer and tourism is underscored by the first-ever Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference, set for March 28-30 in Asheville. Attendees will hail from 35 states as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.
By proclaiming NC Beer Month, Gov. Cooper helps elevate North Carolina’s profile as a destination for craft beer as well as outdoor recreation, innovative dining and music. Find scores of April events and travel deals at NCBeerMonth.com, and stop by VisitNC.com for everything you need for planning a beer getaway. At NCBeerMonth.com visitors can also download an NC Beer passport to help them find and visit 100+ participating North Carolina breweries, earning NC Beer swag, prizes and bragging rights.