The concept sounds silly to some: beer tourism. What kind of nerd travels across the state – let alone across the country – to drink a pint of beer? Ahh, hmm, err ... me. On my honeymoon to northern California a couple of years ago, my wife and I visited six breweries. (She’s a goddess.) We hit four Michigan breweries during a recent trip to see relatives. And I’m far from alone.
At North Carolina craft beer events, it’s not unusual to meet enthusiasts from outside the state. Take, for instance, the Florida couple I met who drove all night long for the Foothills Sexual Chocolate release in Winston-Salem or the guy from Atlanta who came to North Carolina three times in less than two months for beer events.
All this is to say it’s not a surprise to see the N.C. Division of Tourism as the driving force behind the inaugural N.C. Beer Month, a celebration of the state’s craft beer culture in April. “The idea came about as we reached this critical mass of breweries,” said Margo Metzger, a spokeswoman for the division, which is part of the N.C. Department of Commerce. “We have been promoting craft beer for several years now, but we saw this great momentum building. ... We definitely thought craft beer was hot.” Read this week's Pintful craft beer column here.