Award Date


Degree Type

Professional Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Hotel Administration


Hotel Administration

First Committee Member

Jean Hertzman

Number of Pages



Beer, wine and spirits are three little words that make lots of people excited. Alcohol can be thought of as a necessity for tourists. In recent years, consumers are becoming more interested in the development and processes behind their favorite libations. This has spurred a new type of tourist; those that are interested in brewery tours, vineyard hopping, or enjoying a day out at their favorite distillery.

The beer industry has seen rapid growth expansion in the U.S. In 1980, there were roughly 100 breweries in the nation and today there are over 2500 (Brewers Association, 2013a). With the rapid expansion of micro-brewing and nano-brewing, tourists are going on brewery based tours in multiple regions, such as Colorado, Oregon, or New England. Tourists are beginning to seek a stronger connection with the communities they are visiting. They want to sample the local cuisine, taste the local beer, and meet the artisans making the products they are interested in purchasing (Grandmaison, 2013). Experiential tourism has shifted the attitudes of consumers; they no longer want to just consume, but also want to make connections. Craft brewing is one industry that can easily accommodate the tourists interested in this new trend that is experiential tourism.

Colorado has seen its beer industry take off in popularity. Colorado has roughly 150 breweries and one of the lowest breweries per capita ratios in the U.S. (Brewers Association, 2012a). With the increase in breweries, there is also a potential increase in visitors to the microbreweries. In a previous study, it was found that a majority of Colorado breweries would expand their business if there was more state support for brewery tourism (Wobbekind, Lewandowski, DiPersio, Ford & Streit, 2012). This expansion would lead to more beer production and provide the breweries with greater motivation to meet the needs of these tourists.

Colorado saw over 29 million overnight pleasure trip visitors in 2011, with a majority visiting the front range region, which includes major metropolitan areas such as Colorado Springs and Denver (Dean Runyan Associates, 2013). Breweries have the opportunity to grab some of these tourists by offering tours or tastings. By capitalizing on these tourists with brewery tourism, Colorado can boost and define its profile, effectively meet the needs of these guests, and engage in experiential tourism to keep the dollars coming long after the tourists have gone home, through purchases of their favorite Colorado beer.

Brewery based tourism is a way for locations to attract tourists as a supplement to their itinerary or as the main attraction. If a brewery becomes particularly popular, it could bring dollars and tourists into locales to spend money on hotels, restaurants, shopping, and, of course, beer. In addition, it is another attraction for locations that could bring more tourists or have them stay longer. For example, a trip to Denver, could be extended by a day or two as visitors can spend more time engaging in brewery tours or brewpub hopping. The breweries should be excited to be part of this tourism as they can showcase their products, expand sales and brand recognition amongst new visitors. Brewery tourism can feed into word-of-mouth marketing when the visitors return home and tell their friends and family members about the experience. This would possibly result in new tourists making the trip to enjoy the breweries and for all to m purchase more Coloradoan beer.

Another reason brewery tourism is important is that it is a point of regional pride. Many nations, states, or cities are proud of their favorite beverages and want to show them to the world. If an already well-known brewery engages tourists, it creates another selling opportunity and tourist attraction. Unfortunately, not much is known about the alcohol tourist, in general, and more information regarding these tourists would be beneficial to not only the producers, but to the overall community in which they are housed. Colorado has prided itself on its beer industry and is a great location for reviewing and analyzing the brewery tourism industry.


Alcoholic beverage industry; Beer; Beer industry; Breweries; Colorado; Distilleries; Microbreweries; Tourism; Vineyards; Wine tourism


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Food and Beverage Management | Hospitality Administration and Management

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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