Beerwerks Trail aims to boost valley tourism
The valley has crafted its first beer trail.
The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, unveiled in May, features a dozen breweries in the central and southern areas of the valley.
Sheryl Wagner, director of tourism for Staunton, one of six localities involved in the project, says the trail is designed to highlight the region’s attractions as well as its breweries. The website promoting the trail, www.beerwerkstrail.com, refers to local restaurants, farmers markets and festivals as well as listing opportunities for hiking, fishing and biking.
“I think this has tremendous potential not only for the breweries but for local hotels … restaurants and … retail,” Wagner says.
The participating breweries include: Brothers Craft Brewing, Pale Fire Brewing Co., Three Notch’d Brewing Co. and Wolfe Street Brewing Co. in Harrisonburg; Seven Arrows Brewing in Fishersville; Devils Backbone in Rockbridge County; Stable Craft Brewing in Augusta County; Redbeard Brewing Co., Shenandoah Valley Brewing Co. and Queen City Brewing in Staunton; Blue Lab Brewing Co. in Lexington; and Basic City Beer Co. in Waynesboro, which will open in August.
The trail’s marketing budget is $80,000 for the first year, Wagner says. Marketing efforts will include a print and online ad campaign, signage at the breweries and promotional information distributed at welcome centers across the state.
Tourism officials in the region have been thinking about the creation of a beer trail since 2014. While the project now includes breweries in the central and southern parts of the valley, there’s room for growth, Wagner says. “We are definitely open to including the entire valley, all the way up to Winchester.”
Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail joins five other beer trails in Virginia: The Brew Ridge Trail; the LoCo Ale Trail; Virginia’s Blue Ridge Beerway and the Red, White and Brew and Nelson 151 trails which include breweries, wineries, a cidery and distillery.
The number of craft breweries in Virginia has soared in recent years and now totals more than 140. Virginia Tourism Corp. says the craft beer industry supports 8,900 jobs in the commonwealth and has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $1 billion.