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Tapping Tourism with Craft Beer

Updated: 04/13/2014 10:35 PM
Created: 04/13/2014 4:37 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

Tourists will soon flock tot he Northland, but scenic stops aren't the only thing drawing them. Craft beers have become a main attraction and brewers in the Twin Ports said there is still room to grow at an industry panel on Sunday.

The brewers came together Sunday to discuss their craft. The second roundtable event drew about 50 fans, and with good reason according to organizer Dave Grandmaison.

“We have some of the best brewers in the state, in the nation. These people are wining awards. They're making great beer that's getting national recognition and that helps a lot,” Grandmaison said.

He runs the Duluth Experience, a brewery tour business. Grandmaison said the beer boom fits perfectly with the Northland's tourist economy, especially in cities like Duluth.

Brewers agree.

“The North Shore is a unique spot where there is a lot of tourism, but then you also have that base that lives here. It's one of the largest cities in Minnesota so you have that combination of people who come to visit and people who actually live here,” Jeremy King said.

King is a brewer at The Canal Park Brewing Company. He knows the lake is a big draw for tourists and said his company uses that leverage to do business.

“Being at Canal Park Brewery we're right on the lake. Literally, our patio actually touches Lake Superior and so that has to be part of what we do,” King said.

But every brewery in town gets a benefit from Lake Superior. Brewers said it is like the Holy Grail of beer making.

“We got the cleanest, purest water in the world that we're using to make great beer. It's hard to beat the water,” Head Brewer Jason Baumgarth of Carmody's Irish Pub and Brewery said.

Grandmaison said more and more people are taking the pilgrimage.

“What we're finding is it's men, women ages 21 to we've had some folks in their 70s. It's a very broad demographic, and it's cool to see that,” Grandmaison said.

Brewers said more jobs and tax revenue is something to celebrate as they look to expand.

“It's just really a promise of more good things to come,” King said. “Keep putting in the pints, keep buying, support the local breweries.”

The craft beer talk continues on May 18 with owners of thriving spin-off businesses. Scheduled panelists include a hop farmer, a beer blogger and a marketing company.

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