Fifteen breweries. One map. You design your own brew tour.
The South Sound Craft Crawl launched this week with maps distributed at all participating breweries (see box).
A year ago, organizer Ken Thoburn, co-owner of Tacoma’s Wingman Brewers, teamed up with the Tacoma and Olympia visitors bureaus and JayRay public relations to help boost beer tourism in the South Sound. “There’s a huge amount of this in Portland, and we wanted to bring it to the Tacoma area,” said Thoburn.
For beer fans, nothing is more beer geeky than a collection of commemorative beer glasses, and this tour’s got a shiny one for anyone who collects at least nine stamps from participating breweries.
“Not only is it the fun of drinking from a glass that shows you did most, or the whole tour, but the glass was printed by hand by one the brewers you’re visiting,” said Thoburn. The brewers gathered last month at Tacoma Brewing Co. to apply the glass decals.
So doesn’t the South Sound have more than 15 taprooms and breweries? Indeed it does (the count is closer to 30). However, said Thoburn, some breweries opted out because they couldn’t support increased foot traffic or they keep infrequent visiting hours.
For Thoburn and the other brewers, the map is one way to snatch a piece of beer tourism, which is strong in Seattle and Portland but has yet to bloom in the South Sound. “There hasn’t so far been a lot of press outside the South Sound about all the beer going on out here,” he said.
Thoburn also would like more locals to know about their own neighborhood breweries.
“We wanted to build some excitement down here and create a community where folks get to know the local brewers and find the breweries closest to their house. And hopefully drink some beer, too,” he said.