Travellers attracted to breweries, wineries, distilleries
Posted on Tuesday 20 March 2012
By Rory MacTavish
It is no secret that global travellers are drawn to spirits, wine holidays and libations. Whether they are touring the award-winning wine region in Marlborough, New Zealand or biking through the Napa Valley, tourists are inevitably drawn to a culture's drinking and eating traditions. According to a prominent online travel company that provides more than 9,000 tours and activities around the world, wine tours have seen a 50 percent increase in the past year. From bourbon distilleries in Kentucky to Belgian beer breweries in Brussels, travellers will find numerous excuses to sample a regions best alcoholic beverages regardless of the destination.
In the southern regions of the United States, Kentucky is known across the globe for their full-bodied bourbons. According to USA Today, Kentucky's Bourbon Trail recorded almost half a million visits last year, increasing by about 12 percent annually. These oak-aged spirits are a favourite among high-class businessmen, including cocktail-seeking women in New York City who enjoy nothing more than an ice-cold Manhattan, made only with the best Kentucky bourbon.
The West Coast of the United States has also seen a boost in food and wine tourism as microbreweries have begun to pop up throughout Oregon. Along the Bend Ale Trail in Bend, Oregon, tourists can walk to seven different breweries located within a mile of one another so that everyone in a travel party can enjoy hand-crafted beers. Thanks to the trail, small companies have seen a boom in business and this industry has helped Oregon's economy thrive.
In Brussels, Belgium, beer's impact on the economy has been substantial for decades. During the annual Brewers of Europe gala in Brussels, European Union President Herman Van Rompuy emphasized the importance of the culinary and liquor traditions of the continent.
"Beer is culture and tradition," said Van Rompuy in his opening speech. "Beer is also economy. Beer plays an important social role, it is a symbol of hospitality and conviviality."
Many European nations including Belgium exemplify Van Rompuy's words. Tourists flock to Brussels by the millions every year to try their world-famous beverages that have inspired breweries around the world to create similar, albeit incomparable, offerings.
The United States is a teenager when it comes to being a liquor destination for international travellers. In recent years, however, vineyards, distilleries and breweries are aging the nation and soon, the country will pop its cork and become a prime spot for tastings and tours.
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