Eight Reasons to Vote Kalamazoo as Beer City USA 2013

We’re thrilled to see three Michigan cities in the running for Beer City USA 2013 – Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. Last week, we heard what makes Grand Rapids a great pick, and today Greg of Discover Kalamazoo makes the case for his city. Read his thoughts below and look out for a post from Ann Arbor later this week!

As you likely know, the annual competition to be named “Beer City USA” is underway.  Voting continues until 1:59 a.m. on Saturday, May 11, 2013. 

While there are many worthy destinations being considered for this annual recognition (including our friends in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids), let me share with you eight reasons why Kalamazoo deserves your consideration (and vote) to be named Beer City USA 2013:

    • Kalamazoo is home to Bell’s – the oldest craft brewery east of Colorado. It’s the largest brewery in Michigan, the 7th largest craft brewery (and 14th largest brewery) in the nation, and home to three of the top 18 beers in the world for 2013 (ratebeer.com).
    • Kalamazoo was ranked No. 4 in the Top 10 Beer Cities (livability.com), one of the Top 10 Best Vacation Cities for Beer Lovers (The Street) and has one of the largest, and quite possibly the largest (in terms of number of events), Beer Week Celebrations in Michigan.
    • Imperial Beverage was named the 2010 Craft Beer Distributor of the Year by the National Wholesalers Association and the Brewers Association, and was the creator of Kalamazoo Beer Week (the 3rd annual event, held in January 2013, had 147 events over an eight-day period)
    • Kalamazoo Beer Exchange was ranked as the No. 1 Bar in Michigan (ratebeer.com).
    • Craft-Beer Centric locations such as Central City Tap House, the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, Old Burdick’s and Shakespeare’s Pub offer a significant number of craft beers at their establishments (with the Centre City Tap House opening later this year).
    • Restaurants producing their own craft beer include Bell’s Eccentric Café, Bilbo’s Pizza, Bravo! Restaurant and Olde Peninsula Brewpub and Restaurant.
    • Alamo Drafthouse has chosen Kalamazoo as the location for its first Michigan theatre. Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo will open in 2013 and offer 10 theatres, where you can enjoy food and craft beer while watching a mix of the latest releases and all-time favorites. “Kalamazoo reminds me a lot of our hometown of Austin with its strong economy, large university, great beer scene and solid arts community,” Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League said.  We are very excited about this opportunity and to become a part of the neighborhood.”
    • By the end of 2013, five new craft brewers will be opening in Kalamazoo (including Arcadia Brewing, Boatyard Brewing, Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing, Latitude 42 and Rupert’s Brew House).

    While all of these facts, figures, rankings and acknowledgments are great to have received and earned, it is really the culture of the craft beer scene in Kalamazoo which gives us tremendous community pride.

Please share with everyone you know one very simple domain: www.VoteKalamazoo.com.  If you decide to leave comments while you are voting, please keep them positive about why Kalamazoo should be selected as Beer City USA 2013.  One vote per IP address is permitted.  We invite you to like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/beer4kzoo), follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/beer4kzoo) and join us in raising a #Beer4Kzoo!

Greg Ayers is the President/CEO of Discover Kalamazoo, the official destination marketing organization representing Kalamazoo County.  More information about Discover Kalamazoo is available at www.discoverkalamazoo.com.

Who’s getting your vote for Beer City USA 2013? Read from Grand Rapids here and look out for a post from Ann Arbor in the coming days!

Three Reasons Why Grand Rapids is Beer City USA

Home to 15 different breweries (and counting), the top beer grocery retailer in the nation and a number of brewery tour options, it’s no secret that the Grand Rapids beer scene is booming. Today, Blair Giesken of Experience Grand Rapids gives us an inside look at what makes Grand Rapids Beer City USA.

Read her post below and let us know what you love most about the Grand Rapids beer scene! And don’t forget that we’re giving fans the chance to choose a Pure Michigan beer style to be featured on tap at Founders Brewing Co. this July. Click here to vote for your pick.

Grand Rapids is no stranger to delicious craft beer.  It’s a city that proudly serves up big name breweries like the 3rd best brewery on the planetand the #1 brewpub in America, alongside rare finds that dot the outskirts of the city.  A place where small-scale experimental home brewers taste and tinker right alongside master brewers from some of the nation’s most acclaimed names in beer.

#1. Grand Rapids is home to the top beer grocery retailer in the U.S.

These brewers, whether by hobby or by profession, work together to create a blend of beer culture in Grand Rapids that is absolutely unmatched.  “Most of the folks who open breweries were at one time home brewers,” points out Steve Siciliano, owner of Siciliano’s Market.  Named 2013’s Top Beer Grocery Retailer in the United States, Siciliano’s provides one of the largest craft & imported beer selections in West Michigan, along with homebrewing supplies for enthusiastic hobbyists. “Home brewers and breweries feed off each other: there’s a wonderful synergy at work.”

#2. Grand Rapids has 15 different breweries (and counting!)

It’s easy to see why these breweries and pubs collaborate so well— no two are any bit alike.  There are raved-about Grand Rapids’ staples like Founders Brewing Co. and Brewery Vivant that now offer guided brewery tours on Saturdays to give guests insider access to the magic behind the brewing process.  But there are also newcomers who continue to invigorate the beer scene with their unconventional brews and cozy atmospheres.  Take Mitten Brewing Co., a Detroit Tigers-centric baseball themed brewery inside a historic firehouse, where the beers come with names like Crackerjack Porter.  Or Harmony Brewing Co. in East Town, where the focus is on crafting small, balanced batches of beer paired with rustic wood-fired pizzas inside a once-abandoned former party store.  Back downtown is the newly revitalized Grand Rapids Brewing Co., brought back as a modernized version of its original glory by the owners of world-renowned HopCat, who transformed the space just 6 blocks from the original brewery’s location into the Midwest’s first USDA Certified Organic Brewery.

#3. Grand Rapids has unique brewery tours

With so many great beercation spots in Grand Rapids, you won’t even have to work at quenching your craft beer thirst.  There are plenty of creative, crazy – and yes, safe— ways to hit all the stops on your Brew To-Do list.  For instance, you can pedal your way to beer bicycling bliss on the 15-person Great Lakes Pub Cruiser, hop aboard a Grand Rapids Motor City Brew Tour from Detroit to get your first true taste of the Grand Rapids’ beer scene, or snag a GR Hopper Pass to jump safely and affordably from brewery to brewery.

Whether you’re interested in taking your passion for beer out of the brewpub and into the home, or just love to sample and explore the delicious craft beer possibilities, it’s clear that Grand Rapids is quickly becoming our nation’s beer destination.

Already know and love the Grand Rapids beer scene, or waiting (impatiently) to get a taste?  Help us hold our place in the hearts and minds of beer lovers everywhere by dropping your beer ballot for Grand Rapids into the 2013 Beer City USA voting box.  You can cast your votestarting next week (May 6-10) by going to experiencegr.com/votebeer!

Blair Giesken is the Marketing Content Manager for Experience Grand Rapids.  In her spare time she enjoys writing, designing, and taking advantage of the incredible craft beer and local music scene right in her own backyard.

Help Pure Michigan and Founders Brewing Co. Choose a Pure Michigan Beer Style

UPDATE: This contest has closed. Vanilla Stout will be featured on tap at Founders Brewing Co. this July. Thanks to everyone who voted!

With the craft beer craze continuing to sweep the state of Michigan and summer approaching, Pure Michigan and Founders Brewing Co. have teamed up to give fans and craft beer enthusiasts a chance to pick a Founders beer style that best represents Pure Michigan. Now through Friday, May 3, fans can vote on the beer style they want to see available in the Founders tap room – Vanilla Stout, Apple Ale or Wheat IPA. To vote, simply use the form below. Participants must be 21 years of age to vote.

The beer chosen by fans will be featured in the Founders tap room in downtown Grand Rapids throughout July as part of Michigan Craft Beer Month. For more details, visit michigan.org.