Mayor George Heartwell leading a pub-hopping campaign to make Grand Rapids "Beer City USA" for the second straight year.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - City leaders are behind the push to make Grand Rapids the "Beer City USA" for a second straight year.
Mayor George Heartwell, a fan of good brew, says Grand Rapids will take sole possession of the title.
"I'm Mayor George Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids, the greatest city in the galaxy and I'm driving this bus as we tour some of the great establishments in Grand Rapids," he says as he leads the contingent from pub to pub.
The mayor and a bus full of campaigning local brewers are not ready to give up the spoils of the crown, and don't plan on sharing it anymore either. Grand Rapids and Asheville, NC, both held the title last year.
"The excitement, the enthusiasm, is much much higher this year," says Heartwell. "I think we're going to wipe Asheville off the map."
You'll see the bus bar-hopping all week, passing out stickers and pins, even getting people to vote on the spot.
"It's become a real part of the culture of Grand Rapids," Heartwell says.
"What it's about is not really how many beers a city has, or how many breweries we have, or how many awards we've won," says Kelli Cain of MIBeers.com. "It's more about community support behind the whole beer community."
And the Mayor believes another year on the throne will help the brewing industry, and therefore the city, grow even more.
"This Beer City USA title has been huge for Grand Rapids," he says. "As an economic tool, you see all the new businesses that are opening, they're making money and paying taxes, and it's all good -- all very, very good."
The campaign trail ends when voting ends Friday night.
Vote at www.experiencegr.com, www.mibeers.com, or check out the campaign's Facebook page.