The Convention & Visitors Bureau works with the state guild to encourage “beercations”. Thoughtful of them, right?
Well, Dark Lord Day was fun (as usual) but since you’ve come to Munster, your crew is thinking that maybe it’s worth checking out the brewery scene nearby. Or maybe even breweries on your way back home. Or those that could be on the way back home, with carefully-selected detours for “lunch.”
Like many tourism authorities, the South Shore Convention & Visitors Bureau has embraced the dynamic growth of breweries and encouraged visitors to plan trips around visits to each of them. But the Hammond-based organization has taken it a step further, by working with local brewers and the Brewers of Indiana Guild to develop an easy-to-use app to guide you through the South Shore Brewery Trail.
“The App is easy to use, so a user can search by location as well as beer category, so planning a trip along the trail is easy,” said Erika Dahl, director of communications for the SSCVA. “Traveling is about experiences and the memories you make. Grabbing a growler or six-pack to take home is a great way to remember a visit to the South Shore.”
The App provides a guide to the 21 breweries stretching from Whiting to Michigan City, Lowell to Valparaiso. It covers more than 1,600 square miles in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.
Want to know which have outdoor seating? (12) Wonder which are family friendly? (8) The App has all of that.
They’ll alert you to special events with Push Notifications and even tell you which breweries are in the works. The intent, Dahl said, is to promote the breweries, but also the diversity that each one brings in beer, food and atmosphere. They worked with Northwest Indiana breweries, as well as the Brewers of Indiana Guild, to make it as user-friendly as possible, while also providing highlights that will appeal to beer lovers. They encourage users to use the hashtag #alongthesouthshore as they use it.
“As more and more breweries started popping up, the South Shore CVA began promoting a South Shore Brewery Trail for a niche travel segment as well as northwest Indiana residents,” she said. “Each brewery offers different beers, food, entertainment and other amenities. It seemed like a natural fit for an App to include all of the information in one spot.”
Push notifications can range from daily drink specials, opportunities to meet brewers, tap takeovers and ticket sales for events. Some breweries are good about providing information to staff, while other information is gleaned from staff checking social media.
When the App launched in September 2015, they hoped to see 2,000 downloads in the first six months. They hit that in just 18 weeks and today, more than 4,200 people have downloaded it. Of those, a staggering 88% have opted to receive push notifications, to stay on top of ongoing events.
The App also includes a sortable section of beer styles and which breweries are offering each. It also includes a guide to local brew tours (and even a hotel guide for when you’ve visited one too many).