The next time you crack open a locally brewed beer, just know you're drinking suds in "Craft Beer Country."
Harrisburg area tourism officials have found a way to tap into a growing money maker by marketing local breweries.
Jason Reimer, president of Craft Beer Country, said he saw the success from the Central Pennsylvania Wine Region and thought tourism could tap into the local beer scene.
Twelve breweries have partnered with CBC: Al's of Hampden/Pizza Boy Brewing, Alto Ego Brewing Company, Appalachian Brewing Company, Bube's Brewery, JoBoy's Brew Pub, Lancaster Brewing Company, Market Cross Pub & Brewery, Millbock Brewing Company, Saint Boniface Craft Brewing Company, Snitz Creek Brewery, The Brewery at Hershey, and Troegs Brewing Company.
With a $50,000 Dauphin County Economic Development grant, Reimer said CBC will be promoted for more than just drinking area ales.
"They're going to have a world class experience," he said. "All, 12 breweries believe in education. They believe in the art of making a great beer."
Every year, the midstate beer industry pumps $2 billion into the local economy; nearly $9 billion state wide. According to business analysts, for every brewery job, another 45 are generated from manufacturing, distribution and retail.
Artie Tafoya with Harrisburg beer maker Appalachian Brewing Company is eager to go from grains to glass to pockets.
"We want those tourism dollars brought into our area," he said. "We want to keep them in our area, and we want to use them in our area and spend them in our area."
So far, CBC has two scheduled events. The Central Pennsylvania Oktoberfest at Hollywood Casino will take place Saturday, October 5. All 12 breweries are expected to attend to celebrate CBC and area Dutch food. In March, CBC will hold March Craftness.
While fall tends to be a slow tourism season for the area, CBC has rolled out the barrel just in time for convention season. Reimer said no doubt CBC will give tourists another option to extend their visit.
"We're giving people another reason to stay an extra night in this region to enjoy our restaurants, our shopping our spas," he said.
On the Web: HersheyHarrisburgBeer.com