New Indiana Beer App Hopes to Drive Tourism Business

indiana brewers guild

In an effort to boost beer tourism in Indiana, which in turns leads to more exposure and revenue for local breweries, the Brewers of Indiana Guild has launched a mobile app for free download.

“A lot of ‘beer trail’ maps are paper-based and with the number of breweries we have that keep starting up, those can get outdated,” explained Tristan Schmid, the guild’s communications director. “It’s a substantial cost to get those printed and distributed, so we went with a more technical-based version of the trail.”

Spurred by the creation of a similar app for northwest Indiana breweries near Chicago and the surrounding south shore of Indiana, the guild used the same software created by Bluebridge of Fishers, Indiana to create a state-wide app — called “drinkINbeer” — that features turn-by-turn directions to each of the more than 120 breweries in the state.

Schmid said all breweries are included and will be updated. With more than two-thirds of the state’s breweries being smaller brewpubs that do not distribute, this was a great way to introduce even locals to the beers available right around the corner.

“We get a lot of people saying they didn’t even know that there was a brewery in or near their hometown,” Schmid said. “We want to drive people to new breweries and to explore the variety out there. This app is to expand people’s’ palates and the variety of breweries that are out there.

“It’s been pretty popular with users,” he added.

The app has tabs for the next guild-promoted beer fest along with an event calendar, blog, shopping and social media sections.

“The driver is to get people to go to the breweries,” Schmid said. “Our mission is to promote high standards in brewing and the variety and quality they produce.”

For now, the guild does not charge membership fees but still has three very successful beer fests during the year, with Winterfest just concluding at the end of January with more than 7,500 in attendance.

Schmid pointed out that Indiana brewers took twice as many medals as it was expected to win at last year’s Great American Beer Festival in Colorado.

“That was a good year for us so there is some good beer being made here,” he said.

The guild is working on putting out a beer guide magazine in May, but for now it is working to get state breweries to get on board with the 200th anniversary of statehood by creating a “Bicentenni-Ale” project, focused on using local grain, hops, yeast and other ingredients to create Indiana-centric brews.

A few breweries have already started to make beers with local products and tout the locality aspect in marketing.

Taxman Brewing in Bargersville, Indiana has made a Saison with local hops from Indy High Bines of Indianapolis while Mishawaka, Indiana’s Evil Czech has done similar marketing its beers that it has made with local hops from its area.

The guild designed a Bicentenni-Ale logo that all breweries in the state can use to promote the local aspect. All state-wide hop farms, maltsters and yeast companies as well can use the logo. The project has been officially endorsed as a Bicentennial Legacy Project by the Indiana Bicentennial Commission.

“We want them to promote the heck out of Indiana stuff,” Schmid said.

Although he has no guess on the number of beer that could be made with local ingredients, the hope, Schmid said, is to possibly have a Bicentenni-Ale festival in the fall.

Schmid noted that New Boswell Brewing (in Richmond, Indiana) wants to have a beer festival where it gets as many of the Bicentenni-Ale beers in one place.

“If our members and providers want to do it, we are on board for that,” Schmid said.




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