Explosive is about the only word to describe the rise of craft brewing in Columbus. There’s definitely a serious love of beer happening. Helping they city’s beer aficionados and curious out-of-towners get more acquainted with the buzzing brews available is Columbus Brew Adventures. The guided tours give a behind-the-scenes look at suds in the city.
“Going on the tour is quite different than just going to the breweries themselves,” says CBA Co-Founder Bethia Woolf. Brewers and owners provide the stories behind the beers and the brewery. It’s a time where beer and education do mix.
“The brewers are very generous with their time,” Woolf adds, noting that none of this would be possible without the fantastic partnerships they’ve formed with the breweries. “They’ve been very supportive of what we’re trying to do,” she adds.
Columbus Brew Adventures runs a consistent schedule of their guided tours, selling out most dates.
“Our two core brewery tours at the moment are the downtown and Grandview tours,” Woolf says. The two tours normally run the same route with downtown adventurers exploring Columbus Brewing Company, Seventh Son, Barley’s and North High Brewing, and Grandview goers stopping at Smokehouse Brewing, Zauber, Four String and the Ohio Taproom.
There’s also a Brewery District walking tour that’s more beer-related versus visiting active breweries, and discusses the history of suds in Columbus. Pitchers & Pizza tours pair local pizzas with local beers. A less-frequent distillery tour gives a nod to Central Ohio’s spirits with tours of Watershed Distillery, Middle West Spirits and Brothers Drake.
“We also do a lot of private tours for groups as well,” Woolf says.
Tours include transportation, a beer guide, beer samples at all of the stops, and a few munchies. Each stop on the tour focuses on a different aspect of the brewing process as well.
Woolf says CBA sees a mix of locals and out-of-towners on tour.
“For the people in Columbus and Central Ohio, often they have read about all of these things,” she says. Now, they get to see it in person. Visitors are often looking to learn a little bit more about Columbus.
This getting to know more about the city is at the heart of CBA. But, the story of CBA can’t be told without starting with Columbus Food Adventures.
“The philosophy of Columbus Food Adventures was to highlight, local independent businesses in Columbus and showcase the Columbus food scene,” Woolf says. “We really like to take people to businesses that we think are doing something exceptional.”
They tossed around the idea of a brewery tour but tabled it…until the craft brew scene exploded. Then it became quickly apparent there was more happening than could be covered in one tour, so they decided to start a separate company.
Woolf thinks there’s even more growth on the horizon for craft beer, citing an article saying specialty brews now make up 11 percent of beer sales nationwide. More people are becoming familiar and exploring the flavors that craft beer has to offer. And, especially in Columbus, there’s more variety. It’s not just all IPAs anymore.
“I think that helps to make it more accessible to a wider audience,” Woolf says.
Experience Columbus has helped CBA reach their audience since day one. Being a tourism business, partnering with an organization that promotes tourism in Columbus was a no-brainer.
“It was very apparent to us right from the very beginning, they had a lot to offer,” Woolf say.
CBA utilizes Experience Columbus’ services in a number of ways. They’re listed on the website, event calendar and partner with them on event emails.
“We’re pretty engaged members of Experience Columbus,” Woolf says. “It definitely helps to create awareness of our business.” They are also active with the group tour council. Woolf says it’s great to meet and learn about other tourism businesses.
Aside from marketing, CBA finds Experience Columbus to be a great resource when they have questions. If they need help, the organization will find an answer.
For more information, visit columbusbrewadventures.com.
Photos courtesy of Columbus Brew Adventures.