A new free "digital passport" created by tourism nonprofit Destination Ann Arbor
will allow craft beverage fans to track the Washtenaw County breweries and distilleries they visit and take advantage of specials at many of them.
Amy Karbo, director of communications and community engagement at Destination Ann Arbor, says the passport — officially titled the Ann Arbor Area Craft Pass
— was conceived to support local businesses and help grow the local economy.
"Our mission is to promote sustainable tourism throughout Washtenaw County," says Karbo. "We do a lot to promote our area to our residents as well as potential visitors."
The passport itself is actually an individualized webpage. To sign up, anyone can visit the pass' landing page
and provide a name, email address, and phone number. A link and instructions on how to create a smartphone shortcut are then sent to the email provided.
The pass currently features 15 local businesses from across Washtenaw County: 734 Brewing Company, Ann Arbor Distilling Company, Arbor Brewing Company - Corner Brewery, Bløm Meadworks, Chelsea Alehouse Brewery, Erratic Ale, Grizzly Peak Brewing Co., Mothfire Brewing Company, Original Gravity Brewing Co., River Raisin Distillery, Salt Springs Brewery, Townies Brewery, Ugly Dog Distillery, Unity Vibration, and Ypsi Alehouse. A number of them are also offering discounts or "buy one, get one free" offers for participating pass holders.
"What's really neat about those businesses that have signed up so far is the variety and the dispersal across our county," Karbo says. "These aren't all Ann Arbor brewers and distillers. If you have a chance to download the pass, you're going to have the opportunity to go to communities you might not be familiar with. The whole intention is moving people through our county and having them enjoy the various things we have to offer."
As an initial incentive, Destination Ann Arbor is offering a collectible pint glass to passholders who visit eight or more of the participating establishments.
While nothing is official yet, Karbo says a number of similar local passports are in the works at Destination Ann Arbor.
"Maybe a dining one, perhaps an arts and culture one — there's a few that we've been strategizing," she says. "We hope to roll out maybe three more after this one."
Sabine Bickford Brown is a freelance writer and editor based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Destination Ann Arbor.