The Jax Ale Trail, an award winning marketing effort by the fine people at Visit Jacksonville, has just turned one. As a means to put Jacksonville’s burgeoning craft brewing industry in front of potential visitors, it has been an overwhelming success. Consider these numbers as proof of the program; since its inception in December 2014, more than 20,000 people have used their Jax Ale Trail Craft Beer Passports, and almost 900 craft beer enthusiasts from 39 states and five countries have completed their Jax Ale Trail Craft Beer Passports. While it is well known that the Jacksonville craft beer scene is made up of a lively and fiercely loyal crowd of followers who embraced the Ale Trail, nearly 30 percent of all completed passports were from out-of-towners.
“It is with great pride that we look back at the accomplishments of the Jax Ale Trail in this first year. What started as an idea to showcase our already existing breweries and turn them into a tourism attraction has really taken a life of its own, putting Jacksonville on the national map as an emerging beer destination,” said Katie Mitura, Director of Marketing and Communications for Visit Jacksonville, the city’s tourism marketing organization. “It makes us extra proud to see visitors coming from other cities and countries to drink our great local beer and explore Jacksonville.
To add to the accolades heaped on Visit Jacksonville for the Ale Trail, Livability.com just named Jacksonville as one of the top 99 best cities with the best beers in the country. For the inaugural listing, the website was looking for cities that met three criteria: they are good places to live, they are consumers of craft beer and they are producers of the best beer around. Jacksonville fit the bill handily.
Coincidentally, last month I was approached by a group of college students who were looking to make a series of documentary films about the Jax Ale Trail. They were looking for a someone to act as host for the programs who had knowledge of the Jacksonville beer scene and of craft beer in general. I was honored to fill the position and had a lot of fun making the four short films they produced.
Over the next few days I will post one of their films per day. They range in length from around eight minutes to 13 or so minutes. Some feature interviews with brewers or owners while others simply show off the brewery and their beers.
Of the breweries on the Jax Ale Trail Bold City Brewing Company, Green Room Brewing Company, Aardwolf Brewing Company and Engine 15 Brewing Company are featured.
The first stop was Bold City Brewing Company.
For more information on the Jax Ale Trail visit www.JaxAleTrail.com.