Food Service & Agriculture, Retail, and Travel & Tourism

Grand Rapids is No. 10 US market for 'craft spirits tourism'

April 20, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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Long Road Distillers bar
Long Road Distillers in northwest Grand Rapids features cocktails, farm-fresh food and to-go bottles. Photo via

Grand Rapids is considered one of the best metros in the U.S. for tourists seeking craft spirits.

Travel website Travelocity partnered with the American Distilling Institute to develop the “Craft Spirits Tourism Index,” which ranks Grand Rapids No. 10 on the “Top 10 Large Metro Areas Index.”

The Grand Rapids metro is home to several distilleries, including Long Road Distillers, Gray Skies Distillery, New Holland Artisan Spirits and Bier Distillery.

Between 1880 and 1980, the number of American distilleries shrank from more than 5,000 to fewer than 100, American Distilling Institute Director of Spirits Information said. Today, there are more than 1,000 in the U.S.

“Today, the industry is thriving, and the number of craft distilleries is on pace to double in the next three to five years,” Zandona said. “We are thrilled to be working with Travelocity to introduce more people to the craftsmanship of these local distillers.”

The scale

The pair of organizations looked at more than 300 metros and broke them into two categories: population greater than 1 million and population less than 1 million.

The metros were then ranked based on the number of distilleries per 1-million residents, coupled with a quality bonus for award-winning spirits.

Metros were also able to gain bonus points for distilleries in close proximity to one another.

State laws were also taken into consideration, as were non-stop air routes available to the city and the average price for lodging options.

Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids came in No. 10 among large metros with a total score of 17.405, behind Seattle and Portland, Oregon, which scored 59.5 and 40.5.

Grand Rapids ranked low on the air score, with a 23, while most of the other major metros scored more than 75.

The city did rank high with a hotel score of 64, the second-highest score behind St. Louis and Minneapolis.

Grand Rapids was No. 12 on the “Travelocity Beer Tourism Index” last year.

Large metros

1.   Seattle
2.   Portland, Oregon
3.   Denver
4.   Washington, D.C.
5.   San Diego
6.   Philadelphia
7.   Austin, Texas
8.   Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
9.   St. Louis
10. Grand Rapids

Small metros

1.   Corvallis, Oregon
2.   Wenatchee, Washington
3.   Kingston, New York
4.   Boulder, Colorado
5.   San Luis Obispo, California
6.   Mt. Vernon-Anacortes, Washington
7.   Fort Collins, Colorado
8.   Bend, Oregon
9.   Glens Falls, New York
10. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, California

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