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One Pint for the Road

March 15, 2017
In the overall picture of beer sales in America, craft breweries are still only a small portion. According to the Brewers Association, microbreweries and other craft enterprises had just a 12 percent market share in 2015, and 20 percent or so of beer sales. However, in a year where total beer sales declined by .2 percent, craft sales went up by 12.2 percent.

That’s a lot of beer sales numbers for a travel blog, we know. But here’s the reason why their important: No one is going to travel for Budweiser. But if any of your donors are beer connoisseurs, they will want to hit the road to find their favorite small brewery, to try the latest trend in the craft world or just to spend a few days, much like wine fans, hopping from taproom to taproom. With Mitch-Stuart’s non-profit fundraising auction travel packages, we can help.

When it comes to destinations where beer springs to mind immediately (especially two days before St. Patrick’s Day!), it’s hard to outdo Dublin, Ireland, home of Guinness. A brewery so old and storied it has its own attached seven-story museum, the St. James’s Gate Brewery offers tours, tastings, and one of the best views of Dublin from its “Gravity Bar.” But Dublin is a great city for the beer-oriented tourist in addition to the famous brewhouse; Irish Red Ales and other craft libations are flourishing, with 50 different labels across the country.

Closer to home, the craft beer scene in Portland has earned its reputation as America’s best. The city has a tremendous variety of smaller-batch porters, lagers and ales available, with more than 60 breweries in operation. But what may set the Oregon city apart from the competition is its loyalty to the home team (or home beer, in this case): According to a CNN report, more than 50 percent of the draft pints served in the state were brewed there, and the share of supermarket sales for local beers hovered around 40 percent. And restaurants as varied as Apizza Scholls (which The Oregonian called “the best pizza in Portland” in 2015) and the old-school steakhouse RingSide Grill delight in their ability to serve up local pints to pair with their entrees.

Finally, any list of American beer cities that doesn’t start with Portland will almost invariably lead off with San Diego. The sunny southern sibling of Portland offers craft breweries in almost every neighborhood, including ones that tourists are likely already visiting (La Jolla and the Gaslamp District are each home to multiple microbrew options). Many of the local taprooms and alehouses also love throwing food-and-beer events; the San Diego Brewers Guild’s events page lists soirees like “Brew-n-Donut Pairing” and “Cupcake and Beer Pairing.” Combine all of that with the natural charms of the Southern California town and San Diego becomes an incredibly attractive destination.