Beer and wine tourism is on the rise, as seven in 10 Americans have traveled to a destination specifically to sample the alcohol in the region.
From the third of Americans who ventured to France for the wine to the 47 percent who embraced beer in Germany — the lure of quality, locally-brewed alcohol is an increasing draw for travelers.
According to a new survey of American beer drinkers, California (41 percent) and Italy (35 percent) were among the other locations respondents have traveled to, at least in part, indulge their taste buds.
Between the rise of craft beers and local breweries, 72 percent of beer drinkers have been on a “beercation” and taken time out of their trip to go to a tasting at a local brewery.
And this appears to be a rising trend, as baby boomer respondents were the least likely to have taken a trip to sample a region’s alcoholic offerings.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Visit Anaheim in advance of National Drink a Beer Day, the survey found that 37 percent of beer drinkers “often” try new varieties — which might help explain the trend of beer tourism.
That passion for new beers was also found to be more common with younger generations, as they were more likely than baby boomers to “often” sample new beers.
There’s more to the world of malt and hops than the bottom shelf of the corner store’s cooler, and taking a beercation allows respondents the opportunity to immerse themselves in the new lagers and ales they crave.
“With craft breweries and brewery-driven travel on the rise, there’s no better time than Oktoberfest to take a beercation,” said Charles Harris, senior vice president of marketing, Visit Anaheim. “A popular place to discover the perfect pint is Anaheim; an award-winning destination playing a significant role in Orange County’s growing reputation as the center of innovative craft brewing.”
But despite a clear passion for pursuing alcohol around the globe, many beer fans still need a refresher on the basics.
It doesn’t matter whether people prefer craft or mainstream beers: results are in, and it turns out they aren’t quite as knowledgeable about beer as they thought.
Respondents were asked a variety of questions testing their expertise — but while 72 percent believed themselves to be knowledgeable about beer, the results weren’t there to back them up.
Half of self-declared beer lovers know the four main ingredients of beer — grain, hops, yeast and water — while 45 percent understand the difference between ale and lager.
The survey also revealed that 35 percent know what IPA stands for (hint: it’s India Pale Ale), but the good news for beer drinkers is that you don’t have to be knowledgeable in order to enjoy a pint.
And it’s always more fun to have someone to talk to while enjoying a glass: Sixty-five percent admit it’s a turn-off if a date isn’t knowledgeable about beer — but taking a beercation might be part of the solution.
Regardless of whether they’ve traveled to sample beer, the average respondent enjoys about four beers per week. With such a strong thirst among tourists and consumers for a cold one, the future for the craft beer industry is bright.
“Here in California, the impact of the craft beer industry has tripled over the last five years, increasing its economic contribution to the state and showcasing the small business success story,” said the managing director of the CCBA, Leia Bailey. “Craft brewery owners are part entrepreneur, part artist and part scientist and every brewery has its own unique story.”
AMERICA’S BEER TEST
How did beer fans measure up — do you think you know your stuff?
• Name the four main ingredients in beer — 50 percent
• The difference between ale and lager — 45 percent
• What “bottom fermented” means — 44 percent
• What IPA stands for — 35 percent
• What ABV stands for — 29 percent
When it came to true or false . . .
• 59 percent mistakenly thought dark beers always had a higher alcohol content
• 50 percent incorrectly believed pilsner is a variety of ale
• 50 percent mistakenly believed canned beer was inferior to bottled
• 35 percent didn’t know it was bad to use a chilled glass for beer
• 24 percent were unaware that hops from different places around the world taste differently
MAINSTREAM BEER DRINKERS
• Identify as confident and curious
• Enjoy horror and drama films
• More likely to listen to jazz music
• Slightly more likely to be a morning person
• Watch “Modern Family” and “This is Us”
• More likely to have been beer tasting while on vacation
CRAFT BEER DRINKERS
• Identify as confident and curious
• Enjoy action/adventure and historical films
• More likely to listen to pop music
• Slightly more likely to be a night person
• Watch “Big Little Lies” and “Game of Thrones”
• Less likely to have been beer tasting while on vacation
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