RICHMOND, Va. – There is no shortage of trails to explore in the region, and now locals and visitors alike can hop on the Richmond Beer Trail, which unites all 23 local craft breweries.
Not too long ago there were only a handful of local breweries, but the past six years has brought a “malt-rush.” In 2016 alone, seven new breweries and one cidery opened in the area.
Using the Richmond Beer Trail map as a guide, visitors are encouraged to “track and taste the trail” by collecting stamps at the breweries they visit and sharing their experience on social media using #RVABeerTrail and #VisitRichmond.
It’s worth noting that two urban cideries aren’t on the official trail map, but Blue Bee and Buskey Cidery can be easily found in Scott’s Addition, near popular breweries along the trail (they are listed at the bottom of this story on our own map).
Collect five stamps on the map and get a limited-edition item that can be collected at the fifth brewery.
During the program’s soft launch, participants earned T-shirts. The next item – soon to be released – will be the Richmond Beer Trail trucker’s hat.
“With the Richmond Beer Trail, we’re excited to boost awareness of the Richmond Region as a world-class craft beer travel destination and expand the number of visitors who experience a local craft brewery during their stay,” said Richmond Region Tourism Vice President of Marketing, Jennifer Hendren.
The agency worked closely with Richmond Breweries United, led by Scott Jones, to develop the trail concept.
Jones, who is also co-owner of Triple Crossing Brewing, pointed out “that it is an exciting time to be a craft beer consumer” in Richmond.
Travel and economic research indicate that a strong majority of travelers enjoy trips where they can visit breweries and sample local beer, and they choose destinations based on access to food and drink.
“The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, wine trails, beer trails are all great ways for tourists to really explore a destination’s tourism assets in an accessible and user-friendly way, and their success definitely inspired us,” Hendren explained.
Not only does the Richmond region boast an award-winning, nationally applauded dining and beverage scene, but the rich history is also easy to guzzle.
That local flavor is a part of Richmond’s DNA, Hendren said. “Richmond was even the first place where beer was sold in a can back in 1935.”
Maps are available at local breweries, Richmond Region Visitor Centers and can be downloaded at RichmondBeerTrail.com. The three Visitor Centers are at the Greater Richmond Convention Center downtown, the Richmond International Airport and Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Hanover County.
Across the state there are other beer trails to explore; the LoCo Ale trail, featuring Loudon County breweries; the Brew Ridge Trail (Charlottesville, Afton and Witnergreen);the Nelson 151 Trail that boast wineries and breweries; the Blue Ridge Beerway (Roanoke, Salem and Hardy); the Shenandoah Beerworks Trail (Harrisonburg, Waynesboro and Staunton); Coastal VA Beer Trail (Williamsburg, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Smithfield and Virginia Beach); and the Red, White and Blue Trail (Nelson County).
More craft beverage information can be found at VisitRichmond.com/drink.
Map of Richmond-area craft beverage makers.