Craft Beer and Craft-Inspired Business
The Connection Between Craft Beer And Vibrant Communities
The Experience Economy is thriving here in Duluth and the excitement surrounding our local craft beer community is spreadings to other makers and craft-inspired businesses.
The immediate impact is obvious. Our local breweries are locally owned and in many cases the breweries use local ingredients – thereby spreading the benefits of the craft beer renaissance to their communities. Without a doubt, these local breweries are helping promote growth in craft-inspired business.
Loyalty of local businesses and communities to locally produced goods is no surprise. Even more interesting, however, is the impact that a craft-economy has on travel.
Recent travel industry data indicates that visitors are seeking stronger connections to the communities that they visit. It’s no longer good enough to see the sights and hit the standard tourist destinations. People want to be immersed in the community – eating local cuisine, drinking local beer and spirits, buying locally-crafted goods, and connecting with the artisans who make the products they value. Today’s travelers want to hear the stories that define the place they visit and… more importantly… become part of the story itself! This trend has been aptly named the “Experience Economy”.
Related: Experience Is The Key To Happiness
The Experience Economy and Craft-Inspired Business
In the experience economy, experiences are identified as distinct economic offerings that combine classical economic transactions with the deeper experiences underlying the origins of the things we buy. As such, the craft beer community is now reaping the benefits of an accelerated appreciation for locally crafted goods. More recently, these benefits have spilling over into craft-inspired businesses located in craft beer destinations. In previous posts we’ve described what we call the “Craft Beer Traveler” and we’ve seen first-hand how diverse this group of explorers really is. It certainly goes beyond the brew.
Related: Give The Gift Of Experience
Whatever the ultimate motivations for seeking out a craft beer experience, the local craft beer scene is exploding and craft-inspired businesses are benefiting. Local businesses like Duluth Coffee Company have crafted a story around their commitment to single-sourced coffee beans, precise attention to the roasting process, and collaboration with local breweries to create a variety of coffee beers. Local ranchers collect spent grains – a waste product from the brewing process – and use them to feed their livestock. There are so many additional examples…
Related: Explore The HART of Duluth
The Lincoln Park Craft District is a great example of how craft beer has inspired a new economy. This nearly-forgotten neighborhood has experienced a substantial rebranding over the past few years – largely led by Bent Paddle Brewing Company, Duluth Grill, and Frost River – and a new wave of excitement has inspired a wonderful community of craft-minded entrepreneurs – Ursa Minor Brewing, Duluth Cider, Duluth Potter & Tile, Hemlocks Leatherworks, Hotel Pikku, and others – who now form the foundation of Lincoln Park’s new future.
Companies like The Duluth Experience have created behind-the-scenes experiences that immerse guests in the craft beer scene, and provide a context for the positive impact that craft beer has had on the local community. Guests meet the brewers, explore the breweries, sample their latest creations, and learn about the process of making beer. The breweries and restaurants visited during the brewery experiences and the stories told along the way provide visitors with a deeper sense of place and help reaffirm the craft-inspired identity of the local community. New experiences have followed – exposing guests to the people and businesses driving change in our growing commercial districts. For now, the opportunities for new experiences are endless.
Upshot: Craft Beer Connects Local Communities
The craft beer scene is likely to continue its expansion and we expect to see continued growth of craft-inspired business in the Twin Ports and across the United States. At the local level there is no longer room to doubt the importance of craft beer in a community’s economic and travel portfolio. The North Shore is a great example with Duluth, Superior, Two Harbors, and Grand Marais benefiting from the food and beverage travel trend.
We believe that the experience economy and the craft-inspired business will continue to help connect people to the products and services they consume in a more meaningful way. The result is an informed consumer with a more complete understanding of the processes and people creating their favorite stuff. The overall goal of this approach is to expand the reach of local companies in a way that converts visitors into spokespeople and connects our community to new markets.