GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids has reclaimed its crown as the Best Beer City in the country, according to a USA Today poll.
A panel of beer experts selected 20 cities that customers say has the best scenes to check out, and Grand Rapids is #1 on the list.
13 ON YOUR SIDE reached out to local breweries in West Michigan to see their reaction to Grand Rapids keeping its beer title.
For General Manager Hillary Monnahan of the Alebird Taphouse and Brewery in Byron Center, she thinks of the Grand Rapids Brewing Community as a family, and well deserving of the title at that.
"We, like I said, are very luck to have people that travel to come and see us, we are supported by all of the breweries behind us, there is definitely a support system that if you need anything, they're usually there for you," said Monnahan. "There's so many small communities and small breweries that you get to experience if you just go 20 minutes or 30 minutes outside of Grand Rapids, you will still find really cool breweries."
According to a 2019 Economic Impact Report of Beer Tourism in Kent County commissioned by Experience Grand Rapids, there were around 40 breweries in Grand Rapids with over 80 in the Greater West Michigan area while generating over $38 million in the county at that time.
Amanda Fisk is the general manager of Railtown Brewery in Dutton.
While she says that area brewers work together to give each other inspiration, it's also the people, the customers, that make the Best Beer City what it is.
"We'll see somebody make a really cool sour over at somewhere downtown, we'll be like hey let's try that sour but let's make it a little bit different, a little bit weird for ourselves," said Fisk. "People are making friends in here all the time, whether they met today, met last week, or met a hundred years ago."
The award comes as Grand Rapids celebrates 10 years as Beer City, USA. Among its many accolades, USA Today bestowed Grand Rapids the titles of America’s Best Beer Town in 2014, Best Beer Scene in 2017 and Best Beer City in 2021 and now, 2022.
USA Today credits the world-renowned Founders Brewing Co., the Belgian-inspired Brewery Vivant and beer stores like Siciliano’s Market for the victory. Experience GR says there are more than 40 craft breweries within a 30-minute drive of each other in the city.
Trailing behind Grand Rapids were Madison, Wisconsin and Indianapolis, Indiana in the second and third spots.
Below are the other 17 cities that Grand Rapids beat out for the top spot:
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Atlanta Georgia
- Bend, Oregon
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Chicago, Illinois
- Denver, Colorado
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- New York, New York
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Portland, Maine
- Portland, Oregon
- San Diego, California
- San Francisco, California
- Seattle, Washington
- St. Louis, Missouri
Let's hope for year number three, Grand Rapids. Cheers!
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