Drink it in — the Valley, that is

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WAYNESBORO — A new program encourages people to “drink in” the Shenandoah Valley through a tour of the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail.

With a “passport”-style booklet and snazzy new marketing campaign complete with a play-on-words witticism for a slogan (“Drink in the Shenandoah Valley”), the goal is to visit the breweries and get a passport stamp at each one. Once people have visited at least six of the 14 breweries on the trail and received their beerwerks passport stamped, they can mail the passport in for a t-shirt and other prizes.

“We were looking for a way to deepen the experience, help keep visitors in the area for longer and get them visiting more breweries,” Courtney Cranor, assistant director of Waynesboro Economic Development, said.

The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail, a cooperative effort launched by several localities, including Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County, as well as the region’s breweries and vineyard, was created in May of 2016. The local governments see it as a way to increase tourism by providing yet another attraction in the Shenandoah Valley — and one that supports local business in the process.

Breweries on the trail in the Waynesboro area are Basic City Beer Company, Seven Arrows Brewing Company and Stable Craft Brewing. In Staunton, there is Queen City Brewing, Redbeard Brewing Company, Bedlam Brewing and Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company.

Harrisonburg breweries include Pale Fire Brewing Company, Brothers Craft Brewing, The Friendly Fermenter, Three Notch’d Brewing Company and Wolfe Street Brewing Company.

The remaining two breweries are Devils Backbone in Lexington, and Great Valley Farm Brewery in Natural Bridge.

“From some of the research we had done looking at other passport programs, it’s been shown that visitors really enjoy the process of having that passport, getting it stamped and being able to redeem it for something,” Cranor said.

The passport pamphlet also encourages visitors to check out other attractions in the area. It features “top 10 ways to explore Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.”

“Many of the people that enjoy craft beer also enjoy music festivals and outdoor recreation,” Cranor said. “We were looking for a way to deepen the tourism experience here, not just merely linking breweries together on a map. If you go to our website it’s, ‘Do you enjoy biking or hiking or paddling? Here’s where you can get a craft beer near that.’”

The new program will be ongoing. Everyone that completes a passport will receive a t-shirt. The first passport completed will receive general admission tickets for two to the Red Wing Roots Music Festival. The second will win a beginners fly fishing class for two and the 10 th completed passport will receive a paddling adventure for two on the Upper James River Water Trail.

A passport card may be picked up at any of the breweries or visitor centers in the participating localities.

You can stay connected with the trail on Facebook, Shenandoah Beerwerks; Twitter, @beerwerkstrail; Instagram, @shenandoahbeerwerks or via the website, beerwerkstrail.com

Source:  Click here to read the original story by Michelle L. Mitchell / The News Virginian.