By Crystal Harrison and Conner Sweeney
The beer culture throughout the Jacksonville community continues to grow and looks like it is here to stay. With help from Visit Jacksonville and the implementation of the Jacksonville Ale Trail and the Jacksonville Brew Bus, the community now has access to a unique experience exploring craft breweries.
Local Brewers are developing craft beers that make what they brew stand out from the rest. Bottlenose Brewery on the Southside has developed a Pumpkin Spice Latte brew as well as a Chocolate Stout that captures the essence of Fall.
The Jacksonville Ale trail provides an individualized experience to help make exploring the different breweries in the area easier. When it first began in 2014, there were only about eight breweries on the trail and today there are 18 and the trail is continually growing. Participants of the trail each receive a passport to carry with them and receive stamps for purchasing drinks at the individual breweries. This approach allows participants to visit different breweries on their own schedule. Along the way the passport can be redeemed for prizes.
“What we really want to do is tell the rest of the world that Jacksonville is a great craft beer destination and that if you come here to explore you have a really good opportunity to try a lot of different things,” said Katie Mitura, Vice President of Marketing for Visit Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Brew Bus takes a different approach to exploring the breweries. The bus drives a group of 6 or more people to three different local breweries and gives them the opportunity to sample 10-12 craft beers, all while enjoying the dynamic atmosphere of party bus.
“Our goal is to get people to try breweries they typically wouldn’t try on their own as well as try beers they typically wouldn’t try on their own,” said Mike Maulsby President of the Jacksonville Brew Bus.
The Jacksonville Ale Trail and the Jacksonville Brew Bus have both had positive impacts on the culture helping to bring the community together and grow the business of the local breweries at the same time.