Craft Beer in Vermont

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CRAFT BEERAROUND THE NEK— According to the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the Green Mountain State ranks first in the nation with breweries per capita. There are 54 breweries that are part of the Vermont Brewers Association. The Vermont Pub and Brewery in Burlington was a founding member of the association.

 "The first group of people involved in the Vermont Brewers Association was very casual," said Steven Polewacyk, the Vermont Pub and Brewery owner.

Polewacyk was friends with Greg Noonan, who helped start the association.

"Initially the Brewers Association was organized to perhaps protect against the big brewers coming in and scooping everybody up,' said Polewacyk. "It was something that was necessary as more and more breweries cropped up here and there."

In 2016, the craft beer industry in Vermont saw 1.6 million visitors to breweries. 75% of those visitors were tourists.

"I would say beer tourism has become much more mainstream," said Phill Young, a Hillfarm Stead Staff Member. "So in other words people who maybe have no virtually no interest in beer otherwise say, 'hey I'm in Vermont lets go to breweries,' because that is what you do when you are in Vermont. Sort of like you go skiing you know."

"I think if you are a beer fan, there is something about making the pilgrimage up here," said Steve Labiak, a tourist from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

"[The] beer is just phenomenal," said Sean O'Brien, a tourist from Milford, Massachusetts. "They are one of the few breweries that kind of nails it across all styles."

"I have often heard us referred to as 'Beer Mecca'," said Young.

"Craft beer in Vermont is a big draw," said Polewacyk. "And Vermont carries this mystique of it's made in Vermont. And that means a lot to a lot of people."

Craft Beer in Vermont from NewsLINC on Vimeo.