Visit Delaware, Delaware’s tourism office, announced a major expansion of its popular Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail, Tuesday.
The interactive trail is designed for people and visitors to explore craft beverage makers across the state; an industry that’s experiencing a boom in Delaware.
“It is a privilege to showcase the growth of this industry in the state. The trail helps drive visitation to and build awareness of each of its locations,” said Linda Parkowski, director of tourism. “These business owners take on a lot of risk. They have the courage to turn their dreams into realities, their passions into profits.”
Parkowski unveiled the new businesses joining the trail during a news conference at Iron Hill Brewery on the Wilmington Riverfront. Among the additions are, for the first time, cideries and meaderies. In total, there are now more than 20 sites along the trail.
“Every day we work to share with the country and the world that Delaware is a vibrant, viable and exciting place to visit, to live or to do business,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “I’m pleased to celebrate the expansion of our Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail and the entrepreneurs who are building Delaware’s craft beverage industry into a growing economic engine for our state.”
The trail started in 2010 under the name Delaware Wine & Ale Trail, with the goal of boosting the number of out-of-state visitors and featuring a developing segment of the state’s economy. At the time it included 12 locations, all of them wineries and breweries.
Painted Stave Distilling, located in the Old Smyrna Theater in Smyrna, is one of the stops along the trail.
“Every weekend we see people come into our distillery because of the trail. And we are not alone in knowing the trail is driving customers to our business. That’s why we are so glad to see even more companies will now be benefiting from it,” said Mike Rasmussen, co-owner of Painted Stave.
The increase in sites since then mirrors trends nationwide. In 1985, there were 110 breweries across the country. By 2015, that number had jumped to 4,300.
In addition to its new stops, the Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail will receive a digital facelift. An enhanced website with upgraded features like trip-planning help, an automatic display of Instagram photos and a new hashtag, #DEonTap, is designed to make taking the trail easier than ever. A new smartphone app will also be available this summer with check-in technology to allow people to track their progress along the trail.
Once someone has visited any 10 of the locations, Visit Delaware will send them a free prize – a glass beer stein featuring the Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail logo on it.
The Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail is one of the Visit Delaware’s five Trails of Discovery. The other four trails are: history, outdoor, geocaching and culinary.