Last year, Destination Cleveland
began working with the brewery community to create the Cleveland Brewery Passport. It organized a brewery passport advisory council that consisted of the Cleveland Brew Bus’ Leslie Basalla-McCafferty and Brian P. McCafferty, Willoughby Brewing Company’s Rick Seibt, Fat Head’s Brewery & Saloon’s Sara Cleary, Forest City Brewery’s Jay Demagall and local “beer advocate” Zachary Acerra.
The criteria: All breweries participating in the passport must have an A1C permit and should have a brewing system on site; all breweries’ beers must be continuously available to the public when the passport launches and throughout the year; and all breweries must be at least a listing level partner of Destination Cleveland. The passport program, which features area breweries, launches today.
“The brewery scene has been thriving over the last few years,” says Destination Cleveland's Jennifer Kramer. “We saw other cities had a passport program, and the breweries started talking about helping each other. We work closely with the breweries, and we thought it would be important to showcase an important industry. It’s surprising to some people how many breweries are here.”
The Cleveland Brewery Passport features 30 breweries, all located within a 25-mile radius of Downtown Cleveland. The eastern-most brewery is Willoughby Brewing Company, the western-most is Avon Brewing Company and the southern-most is the Brew Kettle in Strongsville. Brewery/brewpub patrons will receive a stamp in their passport for making a purchase at a participating establishment.
“It’s been really educational,” says Kramer. “The industry is developing so fast, it’s hard to keep on top of it all. East and west and downtown breweries on the council worked to make sure we covered all of that. The amount of education is one of the best things that came out of all this. The process will evolve. This is our first stab. We’ll continue to evolve as time goes on. We want to appeal to both the passionate Clevelanders and visitors.”
After making a purchase at eight of the 30 participating breweries/brewpubs, participants will receive a customized Cleveland script bottle opener. Those that fill their entire Cleveland Brewery Passport will receive a Cleveland script hat and will also be entered in a contest to win a weekend getaway in Cleveland.
Residents and visitors can pick up the free Cleveland Brewery Passport at any of the participating breweries or at the Cleveland Visitors Center at 334 Euclid Ave.