Local Athens Breweries Band Together To Create A New Experience
The Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau has unveiled a new experience, the Athens Beer Trail –– a self-guided brewery tour designed to draw visitors to six participating craft breweries and tasting locations in Athens. The Athens Beer Trail will also feature a Trail Guide, detailing the different vibe and experience at each brewery, along with a map to take visitors through each one. Upon visiting each brewery, guests are encouraged to have their Trail Guide, or ‘passport,’ stamped for a chance to redeem Athens Beer Trail merchandise and as a record of their favorite brews.
The Athens Beer Trail is a representation of the beer culture that has been fostered in Athens over the past two decades. The new trail is a self-guided tour, taking visitors through the nine-mile area of Athens breweries. Open year-round, the trail was created in partnership with the Athens Convention & Visitors Bureau and Akademia Brewing Company, Athentic Brewing Company , Creature Comforts Brewing Company, Normaltown Brewing Company, Southern Brewing Company and Terrapin Beer Company.
Widely-known as the home of a bustling art scene, many chart-topping bands and The University of Georgia, Athens has recently become a hotbed for craft breweries. The history of Athens craft brewing is much like the actual beer itself –– rich, complex, full of life and only made possible by a dedicated and passionate community. Key players, such as Dustin Watts of Terrapin Beer Co. and Sachin Patel of Five Points Bottle Shop, paved the way for the growing community of breweries.
Terrapin Beer Co. was one of the first three production breweries in Georgia and the first of its kind in Athens, opening its doors in 2008. By 2011, Five Points Bottle Shop and Five Points Growlers began offering home-brew kits, along with an educational component from Sachin Patel. Patel was instrumental in fostering home-brewers in Athens by serving as a nexus of knowledge and help for the Athens community. Together, Watts and Patel inspired a community of local home-brewers, thus leading to the creation of the breweries Athens is now known for.
“Beer culture didn’t exist in Athens, it was something we had to create –– starting with home brewing. Home brewing has now transformed into six Athens-originated brewing companies, paving the way for Athens to become the best beer city in America,” said Patel.
Now, Athens has grown into a true all-American beer town, with the brewers going on to see major success. For example, Terrapin is now sold throughout the East coast. Athentic Brewing Company received the People’s Choice Award at the Athens Homebrew Festival, sparking their first commercial beer batch in partnership with Akademia Brewing Company. Creature Comforts was featured in Avengers: End Game, as Thor’s beer of choice. The Athens breweries aren't stopping here as they continue to reach new heights year after year.
By exploring the Athens Beer Trail, visitors can immerse themselves in the creative approach to craft beer that each brewery has interpreted in their unique way. This self-guided trail connects all six breweries, demonstrating the community that has been formed between each brewer and showcasing the eclectic individuality of Athens. “Even though we are technically competitors, the beautiful thing about craft beer is we don’t treat each other that way,” says David Stein of Creature Comforts Brewing Co. All it takes is a getaway to the Classic City and you’ll know why there’s nothing quite like beer the Athens way.
“We are so excited to unveil this new experience to tourists and locals alike. The Athens Beer Trail is a true celebration of the community and is the perfect addition to the Athens culture,” states Katie Williams of the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Athens Beer Trail Guide is free of charge and is available for download year-round at AthensBeerTrail.com, or can be found at any Athens brewery and the Athens Welcome Center. AthensBeerTrail.com will also feature a calendar highlighting special events at the local breweries, such as live music and trivia nights.
To learn more about the Athens Beer Trail or each of the six breweries, visit online at VisitAthensGA.com, on Instagram at @visitathensga or by phone at (706) 357-4430. To view the mini-documentary, “Beer The Athens Way,” please click here.
Katie Williams, Athens CVB Director
Hannah Smith, CVB Director of Marketing & Communications